Better Groceries for Less Cash
101 Tested & Proven Ways to Save on Food

By Randall Putala © 2008

Copyright © 2008 by Randall Putala All rights reserved For information about permission to reproduce selections from this book, write to Permissions c/o SDMI, 5010 Linbar Drive, Suite 130, Nashville, TN 37211. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Putala, Randall Better Groceries for Less Cash / Randall Putala ISBN 978-0-9777106-0-7. Printed in the United States of America Book design by John Hreha

Real Cooking Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. Healthier Meals Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Closing Notes Glossary Savings Examples 4 7 9 13 19 23 33 49 59 61 71 77 81 83 89 93 97 103 123 129 135 139 143 144 146 . Cards & Counterintelligence Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs.Contents Foreword Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Chapter 2: The “7 Deadly Sins” Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons Chapter 6: Strategy & Tactics: How to Win the War for Your Wallet Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way To Organize Coupons Chapter 8: The Currency vs. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Chapter 14: Real Food. Coupon Litmus Test Chapter 9: Clubs.

but the man goes on: "And don't even try to give me a better deal. They'll print out comparison reports from the internet. he replies. That’s because most people view food shopping as an entirely different process than shopping for other items – especially high-ticket items. I don't care that the dealership down the street offers a lower price. "I want to buy your finest vehicle and I'll pay the full sticker price.Foreword A man walks into a car dealership. I'm buying from you". "my last customer took out a 5 year extended warranty." The salesman recovers his wits and is delighted by his good fortune. All this. call every dealership in a 50 mile radius – heck. Most people pride themselves on getting the absolute best deal on a new car. correct?" If you're thinking this scenario is a little farfetched. No freebies or add-ons. But I do want your sworn assurance that nobody – absolutely nobody – will pay more than me for the identical vehicle. But as you’ll see in the pages of this book. Are groceries the new “high ticket items” of our current economy? Just look at your 4 . for a purchase made once every five or six years that immediately loses about 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot. Without blinking an eyelash now. I'm assuming that you'll want the 10 year warranty. whether it is competitive or not. The salesman looks stunned. Yet these very same consumers who spend countless hours scheming and negotiating to get the best deal on their new car. they'll even threaten to walk out of the dealership if they don't get the concessions they want. He says to the salesman. it’s not that far removed from the everyday reality that most people experience in their grocery store. it’s not really as absurd as you might think. I won't accept them. concocting elaborate schemes to 'work the sales person down'. of course you're correct. probably never stop to scrutinize the details of their grocery receipts. And based on the way most people view food shopping.

They represent 15% to 20% of most household budgets. and just maybe you would enjoy saving $100 or $200 per month. But groceries are bought every single week of every single year. Is this you? Do you light your cigars with $100 bills? Do you consider yourself the equal of the guy in the ‘Monopoly” game with the monacle and the bow tie? If so. enjoy.000 or more per year. If so. that you’re NOT that guy. I'm being facetious. put this book down immediately and go count your Krugerrands! I’m guessing. You see.40% – even 50% off your grocery bill. Just maybe you don't carry a money clip with a wad of $100 bills.000 in savings they could enjoy over the course of their life. it's pretty much a one-time investment. They can ridicule the coupon-clippers and laugh that they tip more than that to the valet parkers at their country club.receipts. Welcome to the bizarre world of economics 101. take a deep breath and relax: this book is for you. like clockwork. and I really can show you how to do it. I really will show you how to enjoy savings of 30% . as if they couldn't use an extra $1. And at the end of the day.000 or $50. will shudder at the thought of clipping grocery coupons. week in and week out. and happy savings! 5 . or "Why Pay Less When We Can Charge You More?" Of course. yet most people are PROUD to pay full price for everything from produce to pizza pies to polka-dot party plates. you probably don't need to clip coupons. Read. "You'll Pay More – And LIKE It". "I'm not poor!" they insist. if your money grows on trees or you discover the secret of alchemy. But the same people who will drive 5 miles out of their way to save a nickel on gasoline. perhaps. Does this make any sense to anybody??? Imagine the headlines if we had 'truth in advertising' and the grocery stores were forced to follow it: "Nobody Soaks You Better". It’s no big deal for someone like that to dismiss the $40. Sure. a new car can last you many years with a bit of regular maintenance. and you’ll get the answer immediately.

I've listed my "101 Big Ideas" at the end of each chapter to summarize the key points. refer to these time and again for a quick 'refresher course' to help you save money throughout your lifetime. just breeze through the “101 Big Ideas” to remember how to get back on track. 6 .S. If you find yourself drifting back into old habits.Randall Putala Author P.

I'M IN A HURRY. Let me grab the highest-quality items on the shelf (based on brand name. or position on the shelf ). I'll save 30% or more on my groceries. let's determine what type of grocery shopper you are at present. I can find some other area of my life to cut costs – maybe. but it's just not possible with my schedule. AND I'M CHOOSY. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. I'll easily pay only a FRACTION of what most others pay and my family will probably be 7 . 4. but at least I'm bringing home something edible. Which of the following grocery shoppers best describes you? 1.Chapter 1: What Color is Your Shopping Cart? Before we discuss ways to save money at the grocery store. I may end up with all the wrong stuff and I'm not sure if I'm getting a good deal. I want the best for my family and I'll buy it even if I can't afford it. I've got a family to feed. I'M CHOOSY. I've reviewed my store's sales flyer in advance and selected the special deals and coupons I'm going to use. and pick the cheapest one. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. I'M IN A HURRY. I'd like to save money. I'll buy whatever is in front of me or whatever catches my eye today. I've planned out my shopping trip to cut my in-store time to a minimum. 5. Time is not as important to me as saving money. AND I'M FRUGAL. OUT OF MY WAY. 2. LET ME COMPARE. I'M LOST. highest price. 3. Let me grab the most expensive fruits and vegetables and the most expensive precooked items at the deli counter. I'm going to select the finest core ingredients and plan my meals as I go based on the best deals I find in my store today. I'll be out of here in no time. Let me compare the prices of each item on the shelf. I'm too busy. just give me the makings of a quick meal and I'm out of here. I'M IN A HURRY. advertising campaign.

and you'll lower your food costs. Here. The MINDSET you bring into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. and you will lower your food costs. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 1 BIG IDEA 1: The MINDSET you bring with you into the grocery store is what determines the amount you will pay for your food. Change your mindset.eating better and healthier food than theirs. Change your mindset. If that paragraph didn’t resound like a fire alarm in your brain. please read it again. It's that simple. a first-names-only group for people who habitually pay too much for their groceries. our therapy starts with the MINDSET you carry with you into the store. It’s very important. So do it. It's that simple. It's a very good sign that you're willing to attend today's meeting. Now. But you CAN CONTROL your mindset about the items you will need to prepare your meals and hence you CAN CONTROL the items you put into your cart. 8 . Wouldn't you like to be in that final group? Welcome to the first meeting of "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". because this means you've acknowledged the problem and are willing to take action to change it. You CANNOT CONTROL the prices that the grocery store charges you.

A budgeting problem is hardly ever managed by reducing the AMOUNT of food you bring home. If any of these symptoms apply to the food situation in your home. What percent of your family's take-home monthly income is going towards food? Is it reasonable. you may not be making smart choices for your family. "there's nothing to eat". Everyone is different. You never seem to get around to cooking the items you purchase. You get significant complaints whenever you serve the items you purchase. you're probably suffering from an insufficient food supply. High grocery expenses. they're a good indication that you are purchasing the wrong items – or 9 . If the food that you thought you needed is still in your fridge. If you often find one of your kids standing in front of the refrigerator shouting. you probably have a troupe of unhappy campers and it's your job as the conscientious and devoted parent you are to address this problem. b. and everyone likes different things from time to time. freezer. You have items that you never seem to run out of. If this is the case. or pantry months after the fact. Insufficient food supply. 4.Chapter 2: The "7 Deadly Sins" (Signs that you may be losing the "grocery game") 1. Keep your receipts for one month. This is also known as spending too much on not enough. you have items that disappear as soon as you bring them home. d. Unhappy campers. and they sometimes go bad before you realize it. Does your family ever politely suggest that your menu choices somehow fail to live up to their expectations? (Or perhaps they throw their full plates into the sink and yell "this food #*!)@"</&#s!"). Add up the total of all your grocery purchases. Uneaten goods. A strategy like this does not make for happy campers and is rarely sustainable. Conversely. 3. or is it OUT OF CONTROL? 2. Are you experiencing these symptoms? a. c.

Sticker shock. You're cooking the wrong stuff. so you did. You're cooking too much food. You can adequately feed a family of 5 for a few dollars if you select the right foods and recipes. Are frequent snacks replacing meal times in your household? Do your kids skip the meals you cook only to wolf down an entire bag of chips at midnight? Eating the wrong kinds of food – at the wrong times – in the wrong quantities – can very quickly translate into serious health problems. Steer yourself back to the basics. Your cooking proportions are too large. You may not even know WHY you put it in your cart. (More on this subject later in the book. 7. Binge snacking. The TV commercials you watch and the magazine ads you read are designed by food manufacturers to steer you away from cooking fresh foods and steer you toward buying their the high-priced pre-mixed concoctions. Sometimes the items that looked so good at the store cause palpitations when you see what you actually paid for them. 6. Excessive leftovers. It's important to correct this type of eating disorder early-on – and this book can help you. b. There is a HUGE disconnect between this premise and the reality of the situation. It just looked good at the time. so you put it in your cart. item by item.the wrong quantities of items – for your family's needs. and your budget will 10 . keep reading. Your significant other might even weigh in with their opinion. Your family just isn't "into" to the food you're cooking. but few people notice it. 5. or you're making too many different dishes during a given time frame. Do you routinely throw a significant amount of food in the trash or down the drain? This means one of two things: a. But something made you want to take that action. Have you ever come home from the grocery store and really looked at your receipt? I mean more than just glancing at it – I mean reading it line for line. "how could you pay $X for THAT?" You probably don't want to admit that you didn't check the price in the first place.) The primary job of grocery store marketers is to make you believe that you NEED their product to adequately feed and appease your family.

Re-program your brain to ignore these messages and rely on your own common sense to buy core ingredients instead. but remember that in today's economy you're going to have to work harder JUST TO STAY EVEN. The second choice may seem a little painful at first.thank you for it. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 2 BIG IDEA 2: Grocery prices are rising faster than just about any other commodity in your life. Is your income rising to keep pace? If not. or find a way to buy more for less. the print ads in your magazines. BIG IDEA 3: Your family is not going to be willing to eat LESS. BIG IDEA 4: If your garbage disposal consumes more food than your family. prebagged. 11 . are all geared toward getting you to FORGET about cooking fresh and rely on pre-mixed. BIG IDEA 5: The TV commercials you watch. If you can learn a few simple techniques to stretch your food budget and allow them to eat BETTER. you'll all be happier and healthier. pre-cooked. expensive meals. and even the signs in the grocery store. you either have to sacrifice some of the things you currently enjoy. it doesn't matter what you're buying or what you're cooking: something is significantly wrong in your relationship with food.

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Chapter 3: Here’s Your Sign
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 classic shopper types, and how grocery store owners attempt to extract the most possible cash out of each of your wallets – i.e. how each of your may be losing “the grocery game.” 1. "OUT OF MY WAY, I'M IN A HURRY". You just got off work. Latchkey kid #1 is at his friend's house waiting for you to get home. Sports jock kid #2 is due back from baseball practice in 45 minutes. Workaholic hubby gets home in about an hour. All three are expecting a good dinner, meticulously prepared by tender, loving you. Your approach: "GET OUT OF MY WAY, GALS, OR I'LL MOW YOU DOWN!" You're zooming through the aisles snagging boxes and cans of anything that looks fast and edible that will pacify the hungry mob at home. Saving money on groceries is just about the furthest thing on your mind. Until you balance the checkbook later that week. Uh-oh. "How did we spend $900 on groceries last month? That's UN-BEE-LEEVABLE! What, do you not check the prices? Don't you ever buy things on sale?" Here are some tips exclusively for this shopper type: a. BLOCK IT. Create a 'block' of recipes and ingredients that you can fall back on. I recommend buying a small pocket-sized spiral book. Write down the simple recipes for meals you know your family will eat. List the ingredients you'll need. Divide this notebook into 6 sections and highlight the bottom with a marker to create visual tabs for quick reference: i. Main Courses. List the simple things your family will eat like Sloppy Joes, Hamburgers, Casserole, Chicken Fingers, etc. ii. Side Dishes. List things like Macaroni & Cheese, Baked Potatoes, Vegetable Medley, Au Gratin Potatoes, etc. iii. Snacks. List simple recipes you can make to pacify the hungry mob at odd hours of the day, things like Caramel Corn, Potato Skins, Nachos, Sandwiches, Fruit Salads, etc.

b. REPLACE IT. Use these blocks of recipes to purchase core ingredients at the store, INSTEAD of the bags of pre-mixed / precooked items you've been buying. As you build your list of substitute recipes, you'll slowly wean yourself away from buying the higherpriced items. Add to your list of recipes by browsing the web. Buy some cheap cookbooks at yard sales, or check some out from the library. Keep adding to your list of recipes. If the family hates it, tear the sheet out of your notebook. If they love it, put a star by it. The more you document your cooking successes and failures, the more you'll save. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether from a recipe, a book, or simple experimentation – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family with better recipes, and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time', but you can rely on your own notes. 2. I'M CHOOSY. LET ME COMPARE. If you're a slow and steady shopper but you just can't seem to save money, this description fits you to a T. You compare prices closely: The name-brand item is 99¢, and the off-brand is 89¢. So you buy the off-brand, thinking you're saving money. Not necessarily! If you had clipped a coupon from the Sunday paper for 25¢ off the name-brand item, your grocer would have doubled it, saving you 50¢ on the name-brand item. Final cost = 49¢ for the name-brand item vs. 89¢ for the off-brand item. You would have just reduced your cost of that item by almost 45%! Suggestions for this category of shopper: a. CLIP IT. Clip coupons for every conceivable item you might buy at the store. You're already good at comparing prices. Factor in the power of coupons; it can really impact your budget. b. COMPARE IT. If you're good at reviewing ingredients, compare the cost of buying the fresh ingredients vs. buying the premixed items. For example, if you like the convenience of frozen bagged dinners, consider buying larger portions of each key ingredient, and then chopping down and bagging your OWN version of the premixed dinners. You can prepare 5 or 10 meals in a single afternoon, and lower your cost of each meal by 50% or more!


3. I'M IN A HURRY, AND I'M CHOOSY. This type of shopper is both finicky and non-frugal. You're the grocery manager's dream customer. They place the most expensive and appealing items at the end caps of the aisles and in the aisle bins, knowing you'll like the look of these particular selections and won't consider the alternatives or the lower-priced items. You are perhaps the hardest nut to crack in the grocery savings game. The best advice I can give you is as follows: a. PORTION CONTROL. Continue to buy the premium ready-made foods your family loves; just buy less of it Make allnatural side dishes to add depth to your meal, while reducing costs. b. MEAL FILLERS. Add items to your menu that are fast, easy, and economical to cook. Put these on the plate along with smaller portions of the premium foods. This way your family fills up on healthy foods – just not the most expensive healthy foods. For example, let's say you typically bring home about $50 worth of Sushi to make a quick dinner for your crew. Try buying $15 worth of Sushi, but add side dishes such as rice with gravy, rice cakes topped with cream cheese and a small dollop of caviar (see, you can upgrade and still save money!) Or how about some celery pieces filled with tuna fish salad on the side? If you're creative, you can fill out the plate with lower-cost items that complement your original menu choices just fine. c. CHANGE THE SOURCE OF THE SAME FOOD YOU SERVE. For example, if you buy take-out Chinese once a week and spend $50 on one meal, consider buying $10 worth of Chinese food and adding some side dishes that you cook at home. One food manufacturer, everyone's favorite uncle, makes a fast-cooking preseasoned rice mix in foil pouches. There are always 2-for-1 deals at the store, and frequently there are coupons for this item in the Sunday paper. It means that you can get real deals on this product. It's fast to cook, and it's delicious. Plus, you'll end up paying 25¢ or so per portion vs. $2.00 per portion for rice from the Chinese take-out place. You don't have to give up the f ine foods you know and love. To save money, simply buy less of the premium meal items and prepare valuebased side dishes to supplement the main food selections. If you plan


Make a simple list by category. Try to get to the point that you're reaching your goal of the number of items in each category. all is not lost. small steps to organize your shopping trips. 4. Containment is the key word here. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance your main items as well. Poke holes in potato with fork ii. REALLY. Keep it simple. Isn't that a great feeling? 16 . Work on learning to cook individual items really well. try cooking 2 potatoes at once. If this works. and write down notes for this. MASTER SOME SIMPLE FOOD ITEMS. You're really more of an open slate and one of the easiest to set on the right course. You now have detailed notes that you can read anytime you plan to make a baked potato. For example. etc. If you are this type of shopper. until you get it absolutely right. clip them out and put them in an envelope. you're building your own cookbook of things that you know you can cook. Sprinkle it with sea salt iv. Be specific and write down the things you did that worked. though. really. 8 minutes. and keep a small spiral binder to note down what you've learned. If you can find coupons in the Sunday paper for some of the things you like. you should be pretty open to new suggestions. START SMALL. I'M LOST. like "3 meat items". As you master each new step. JUST GIVE ME SOMETHING TO EAT. Next. The best bets to get you on a more logical course in your grocery store visits are: a. Rest assured. Take really. If you actually enjoy wandering around the grocery store like a lost helium balloon. if you're trying to bake a potato in your microwave. great.these side dishes carefully. "5 breakfast items". Chances are you feel pretty hopeless when it's time to grocery shop. etc. write down the steps: i. closely followed by completion of your assigned task. as well as the things you did that DIDN'T work. If you need more time. that will turn out perfectly. Wet the potato with running water iii. change it to 7 minutes. b. writing down how many items you'll need that week from each category. you may a problem. and stop there. Cook for 5 minutes on high.

But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. book.500 – $3. and then doing those same things next time you cook. the more you'll save. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. down. I WANT THE BEST STUFF. while kind of ticked off at how long the cashier took to scan all of your coupons. Imagine being able to wheel your cart out of the supermarket. $60. 5.500 or more per year on groceries. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how professional chefs do things. and you won't always have a coupon for them or an alternative lower-cost option. It will make you think about each of your selections and how they will affect your total. The guy in line behind you. Some items will be necessities. Get cheap. down. or simple trial & error – the more you'll learn about how to both please your family 17 . The reason it looks so effortless on TV is because cooking is really very simple. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 3 BIG IDEA 6: The more you document. you're ready for the master class.27 – he's kind of wondering what you did. AND I'M CHEAP. Since these are 'after tax' savings – it is like getting a $5. You can experience this every week – year-in and year-out – so you are literally saving $2. It just takes practice to know what works. down. If you mentally prepare yourself to reach this level. was fascinated watching the 'amount due' total going down. The tips and techniques outlined in this book will be like manna in the desert: you're ready to shop. $70 or more – and his 'total savings' amount is $2. you CAN do better if you just review your options.000 – $3. and stay cheap. By writing down the things you learn in the kitchen – whether by recipe. When your 'total savings' amount is $50. I'M IN A HURRY.000 raise at work. chock full of the finest foods in the store.Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and it will help you determine what works for you. The checkout clerk and bag boy were amazed at how little you paid for so much food. You'll waste a lot of food and put up with unhappy diners every now and again – but use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark'.

Some items will be necessities. To save money. Learn what works for you. you CAN do better if you just review your options. and stay cheap. But with at least 70% of your shopping cart items. But you'll waste a lot of food and have unhappy and unfed diners who won't appreciate your efforts. If you plan these side dishes carefully. You cannot rely on your memory to remember 'how you did it last time'. and document it so you can continue to build on your simple successes in the kitchen. the variety will make your meals healthier and enhance the enjoyment of your main items. Approach the grocery store with a mission in mind: to show the maximum amount of savings on your receipt at the end of the trip. BIG IDEA 10: Get cheap. BIG IDEA 7: Want the convenience of 'single bag / single pan' cooking? Mix your own freezer bags full of core ingredients in advance.with better recipes. but you can rely on your own notes. BIG IDEA 8: You don't have to give up on the fine foods your family craves. and you can prepare an entire month's worth of meals in a single afternoon. 18 . It will make you think about each one of your selections and how they will affect your total. and save on the ingredients that make up those recipes. BIG IDEA 9: Trial and error in the kitchen can be a valuable thing and help you determine what works for you. simply buy less of them and prepare value-based side dishes to supplement your main food selections. and you won't always have a coupon for it. or an alternative lower-cost selection to make. The reason it looks so effortless to them. Watch the cooking shows on TV to see how they do things. Use recipes and cook books to help get you 'in the ballpark' of cooking success before you get started. is because cooking is really very simple.

If you don’t understand why you do the things you do. What is REALLY going on here…? How do you really feel about food? Examine your motives for buying the types of food you buy. and what experiences in the past are causing you to make these purchases over and over again. and your weight. Stand by this realization. seek professional counseling. If you're currently paying $200 per week. You must first of all admit that you need help cutting your grocery costs. If you do what you've always done. Step 5 – Affirm. Step 6 – Reconsider. If you still don’t understand the connection. visualize yourself paying $100. Once you've uncovered the current negatives 19 . Step 4 – Reflect.Chapter 4: The “12 Steps to Recovery” If you are a candidate "Grocery Shoppers Anonymous". Step 3 – Be Flexible. Take a close look at your mental relationship with food and your family's groceries. Seriously. you've got to be prepared to try new things.. Make yourself accept it. write down the individual items that you think are causing the problem. you're probably going to be aware that some of the items that regularly appear in your shopping cart are perhaps not the best choices. Change is all about visualization at this early stage. It can be a big help.) Step 1 – Acknowledge.. Your second step on the road to recovery involves believe that you actually can pay less for your groceries. Once you can visualize the change you want. you tend to get what you've always gotten. If you don't think you have a problem (or won't admit it) you won't get anywhere. Step 2 – Believe. and what they are doing to your health. You don't have to eat foods you don't like but you've at least got to try out new things once in a while. Once you've taken a closer look at your groceries. your mental attitude. here is a list of the 12 steps on the road to recovery (with my apologies to every real 12step program out there. Write down how they make you feel.

” Find a substitute. Step 10 – Reject.” When your conscious mind says this to your subconscious.regarding your shopping habits. your mind may think of it as a reward. or items that could be replaced with lower-cost selections. Examples: plain yogurt instead of sour cream. you must mentally shout out. Consider using lower-priced or healthier ingredients in your favorite recipes. “I’ve always eaten this. “I can make a better choice that will become my NEW favorite. Humilty is the stepstone of success. and 'do the aisle again. for the NEW me. These are the "bad guys" that are eating a hole in your budget… Step 9 – Substitute. put the guilty items back on the shelf. 20 . items that cost too much. When you reach for that high-priced non-essential food item. Were they of the best value? Did you check to see if you had coupons for the items you selected? Did you consider other brands that might have been priced lower and been just as good? If not. and if you like it – keep buying it. Step 7 – Be Humble. Start experimenting with new ingredients and recipes. turn around. Take a notepad and physically stand in front of your pantry. it's time to look at the positive solutions before you. Even the best chefs learn something new every day. Take it slow. Write down every item that you probably shouldn't have purchased. I’m entitled to this and no one can stop me from buying it. Step 8 – Record. your refrigerator and your freezer. and enter a new instruction. cholesterol-lowering spread instead of butter. “STOP!” Reset your mind. Be open to the idea of putting new items in your shopping cart. I’ve always been able to afford it. Now comes the fun part. Find new ways of doing things that work for you and your family. buy it. You may be thinking. When you have finished going down an aisle in the grocery store.' Step 11 – Baby Steps. Too much change will cause rejection and abandonment of the whole project. There's a lot for you to learn about food. Acknowledge that you cannot remake yourself or your dietary selections overnight. tofu instead of cheese. review the items that you picked up in that aisle.

Step 12 – Rejoice. Reward yourself for taking specific steps to lower your food costs. and put it in a bank savings account immediately. get 'cash back' equal to that amount. If you're very diligent. 21 . You can open one at the in-store bank that most grocery stores have these days. If you saved $20 – put a $20 bill in your piggy back for a rainy day or a splurge event later in the year.

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Why then do people turn down $50 to $75. if I save $50 on my weekly groceries. Would you turn it down. MYTH 1: Only poor people use coupons. on the basis that you already earn a salary and don't really need the $50? Would you return it and ask that it be given to a poorer person – someone who could "really use it"? Of course not! It's found cash. see if you can find your opinions among these common shibboleths. When I go shopping. 23 .Chapter 5: The Myths & Misconceptions of Store Coupons The core of any grocery savings plan is store coupons. the richest people in the world tend to be incredibly frugal…believe it or not. The richest people in the world don't go around flashing money. Imagine that you are at a social function where door prizes are being given away. Let's examine the top 10 myths about store coupons. People tend to have fixed opinions about grocery coupons. and it's your lucky day. Oprah Winfrey uses coupons. even $100 or more in savings on groceries? By not clipping and using store coupons. and more will be given to you over time. you're turning down the chance to save a ton of money. Love them or hate them. In fact. yes – but not poor. I feel disappointed. REALITY: Only smart people use coupons. save. Imagine your name is drawn from a hat and the prize is a brand-new $50 bill. She's not exactly poor… Smart. and – unfortunately for their budgets – most of them are wrong. Respect what you have been given and treat it properly. it doesn't matter. They're the number one promotional device in the grocery industry and you're going to have to come to terms with them. I know that I probably could have saved a lot more if I had shopped correctly! By the way. knowing how to value money is really what made them rich in the first place. They are always looking for ways to save. You'd snatch up the $50 and celebrate winning a valuable prize. save! Knowing the value of money is the first step to keeping and building even more money in the future.

.. If your spare time is exactly the same as your work time. and you really do work every moment of every day. Benjamin Franklin said it. just imagine for a moment what you and your family could do with an extra $2.. Even if you’re making tons and tons of money during your work time. Would you give less than an hour of your time each week to get it? Would you actually stoop to getting out a pair of scissors and clipping coupons to get it? If not.000 per year. let alone using coupons.. using coupons is a waste of time. why not just go back to the office for another hour each week? Would that be easier? Folks. not me. consider opening your mind up to ways that can SAVE your money so you can do more with what you've got. When you arrive at this conclusion.MYTH 2: If you can afford to pay full price. REALITY: If your spare time is worth more than $100 per hour. here is a huge lesson that you can learn now or learn later: SAVING money is the same thing as EARNING money. And now his picture is on the $100 bill.000 or $3. money to blow on a super vacation. a new hot tub. remember Jack: all work / no play… it doesn’t have a happy ending. be sure you're talking about your SPARE time. But if you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. "A penny saved is a penny earned". you're very lucky. I'm talking about totally fun money… money that you can use to do anything you want. you're probably better off hiring someone to do your grocery shopping. and not the billing rate you would command if you were in the office. let alone shopping for yourself. so take one. You probably deserve a break. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. and “oh so many” of today's ultra-successful Hummer-driving success stories make this conclusion. a monster home entertainment system …whatever you consider TOTALLY FRIVOLOUS and TOTALLY DESIRABLE.! 24 . By this I mean the actual cash you would be generating in your spare time.

You'll have more money set aside at the end of the month and that can go towards your debt. Trust me. If you truly feel you do not need to save on groceries. Some are also for 25 . That is a fact. along with the other techniques described in this book. “Oh.” Okay. you write a check for $75. you will end up paying less in hard cash at the grocery checkout. it's a nice feeling! MYTH 4: Grocery coupons are just a come-on to get you to buy overpriced items or "weird" items you really don't need. “Vincent” from the bank will simply break your credit score until you cough up the “vig” – 21%+ interest on the balance due. and it really does stay in your bank account. Instead. great. View it however you like.Here's another way to look at wealth and financial status. If you use coupons effectively. you're written in that creditor's shylock book. one that will take an immense amount of financial change to dig your way out of. REALITY: Grocery coupons are issued for hundreds of everyday items – things you already buy for your family. even if you use coupons. You're still on a pay-as-you-go plan. MYTH 3: You end up paying about the same. “Vinnie” the shylock won’t be driving by to break your knee caps. If you write smaller checks to your grocery store. That's real money. you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. tell me this: do you have any credit card debt? If you owe ANY creditor ANY amount of cash. no” you might say. my credit card is with one of America’s premier banking institutions. Picture it this way: saving on your groceries can be a valid way to help you pay off your debt faster. REALITY: Effective couponers can literally cut their food cost in half without even trying. Same criminals / same effect: the situation has just been prettied-up to make you feel better about it. many of them are for new items that you may not want or need. Yes. It means that instead of writing a check for $150 for groceries. It's not rocket science. “I don’t deal with a shylock or a gangster.

You shouldn't use coupons as an excuse to buy things you don't need. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time. Smart money management never goes out of style. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. I don't know of a single person who would say "no" to getting a free new wardrobe every year.. need and use every day. you're right: maintain your affluent / happy / free-wheeling image. will you care what those nay-sayers think? I didn’t think so.products that are overpriced.. or you simply don't want the nicer things in life. Then. don't need it. or don't like it. Maybe not today but certainly later in life. don't buy it! There are hundreds of other coupons available for items your family really does want. REALITY: If you truly are independently wealthy. But guess what? If you don't want it.. MYTH 5: People will think I'm destitute if I use coupons. if you don't regularly treat yourself and your family to items like these. picture the people who make you feel destitute in the grocery store: are they on the plane with you? When you're headed to Paris to spend the money you've saved. or a free trip to Paris including hotel and airfare. You'd be ignoring the other principles we discuss in this book about planning your shopping list before you head out the door and really thinking about what your family wants and needs. you probably don't need to use coupons. If you can already afford these things every year without putting a dent in your budget. when you're jetting across the Atlantic with a glass of Chardonnay in your hand. the techniques described in this book provide a real opportunity for you to start doing so. However. Would you turn these things down if they were offered to you? I didn’t think so. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. Just remember this: all grocery products were new at some point in time.. Small debt that you start to rack up today will 26 . Use the coupons you need and don't use the ones you don't. But I don't know of a single family who would turn down a free weekend in the Bahamas or at Disney World. and don't use coupons.

They want people to try their products. THIS IS WHY THEY PAY TO PRINT THE 27 . super-premium items. If you're crying for the Fortune 500-listed grocery manufacturers. higher-priced items. you really do have too much time or money on your hands… MYTH 7: Grocers do not want affluent shoppers to use coupons. and increases sales for the farmers and food producers. using their coupon to buy their product. The grocery manufacturers want MARKET SHARE. Who is most likely to become a repeat buyer of higher-priced items? That's right: affluent households. In fact. the higher the coupon redemption rate. not theirs. an affluent shopper. and that can be very hard to overcome. The moral of this story: saving pennies leads to saving dollars. They must replenish the sold product. regardless of who redeems them. etc. Eva Peron insisted that Argentina should not cry for her (despite being an enormously popular public figure and despite dying young… see the movie "Evita" for details). The food manufacturer would jump for joy if they saw you. enjoy the products. they wouldn't issue the coupons. REALITY: Who spends the most at grocery stores? It's the affluent households who can afford the more 'frivolous' products: pre-mixed items. REALITY: Grocery manufacturers WANT you to use their coupons. the more products they sell. Manufacturers issue coupons according to a well-structured plan to build market share in specific parts of the country. They don't pay tens of thousands of dollars to distribute them in the hope that nobody will use them.compound into larger debt over time. so this increases jobs for the people at the factory. MYTH 6: It's unethical to use coupons if I can afford to pay full price. Couponing is the #1 PROMOTIONAL TOOL available to the grocery industry. Saving dollars early in life will lead to a much more robust lifestyle in your future. Let the mockers laugh: you’re building for your future. and become repeat customers. If they didn't want consumers to buy their products. Coupons help spur the economy.

new combinations. the next time. etc. They're attempting to BUY your loyalty… 28 . They are DESPERATE to have you buy a box of their latest creation and let your family try it. REALITY: Again. And when you go to buy the product again. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. They develop new lines of products. it works for the store manager who makes his or her money whether you use the coupon or not. MYTH 8: It doesn't make sense to buy products that I don't normally buy. No company would incur the massive expense of testing. and it works: my kids ask me to buy specific brand names of items that they enjoyed the first time I bought them (brands they wouldn't even know about if I hadn't made the initial purchase using a store coupon. and it works for your family: you get cheap or FREE stuff initially. The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. and distributing a product if they didn't believe the buying public would like it. packaging.. and on and on for years. you won't have a coupon – but you WILL have the request from your family to ‘get more’ of the product.) Couponing works for everyone – it works for the manufacturer who sells more products. new flavors. they want to overcome any price resistance and the natural tendency to avoid trying something unfamiliar. let's look at this situation from the food manufacturer's perspective. By printing coupons that offer you a large discount on the product.COUPONS IN THE FIRST PLACE! Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. and you get to try the best new and improved products that the industry has to offer. This is the manufacturer's goal. they're actually very smart. chances are high that you and/or your family will LOVE IT. They want you in their store and they want you to fill your cart with the best items in their store They're not worried about processing a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. because they believe that consumers will like them. So guess what: once you try the product. So the hope is that you will become a loyal purchaser and you will pay full-price for the item – this time.

REALITY: If you do it right. electronics. and save some for your own use. couponing will only add one or two hours to your shopping time per week and it can easily save you $50 per week on groceries Plus.? If not.000 per year. if you have some other method to earn $1. and a real waste of time.MYTH 9: I make a good living. Imagine what your loan balances would look like if you paid down $5. Case closed. Examples: 1. etc. couponing is not for you. 2. you need to save more money. you're right – you don't need to use coupons but you also need to have your head examined (!). or simply don't care about money. give some to charity. Just about everyone could benefit from saving money. If you honestly couldn't pay cash on the barrel today.000 or more per year in your spare time – without working – and it's something that 29 . Do you currently owe a balance on a credit cards? If you answered YES. 3. $2.000. nickels. cars. why don't you run out today and pay cash for everything you've ever want? If you could. it can be fun. Why would someone like ME need to use grocery coupons? REALITY: Few people are doing as well as they could be. and couponing is a step in the right direction. including your home mortgage? Couponing could save you $5. If you are independently wealthy. At least not the same tomorrow as today. you've just lost your vote. You’ll feel better about it. you're right: you don't need to save money. dimes and dollars now! Because if you spend like there's no tomorrow – there might not BE a tomorrow. 4. Do you honestly have more money than you need? If so. (Yogi Berra should have said that…) MYTH 10: Couponing is hard to do.000 per year. Do you have the very latest clothing. Save your pennies. Or. Do you owe ANY money on ANY loan. If you don't mind paying hundreds of dollars in interest each year. home furnishings.

BIG IDEA 13: If you have credit card balances or any amount of consumer debt. and use the money to pay off your debt enjoy . And for you. If you have an easy way to 'turn on the tap' to put more money in your pocket. If you're like the 99% of us who have to live on a fixed income or a regular paycheck. you should pursue it. you're very lucky.. Yes. Pennies that you save today will compound into dollars over time. BIG IDEA 12: Saving money is the same thing as EARNING money. But the ends justify the means. open your mind to ways that you can SAVE money and do more with what you've got. But weak money management can seriously cramp your style. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. it's the chance to make $40 an hour without lifting a finger…or even a pair of scissors… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 5 BIG IDEA 11: The richest people in the world still do many things the way they did early in their life. Maybe you'll find some new favorites if you just try them one time? BIG IDEA 16: Smart money management never goes out of style. you need to GET OUT OF DEBT as quickly as you can. small debt that you start to rack up today will compound into 30 .. Maybe not today – but later in the month or later in the year – and certainly later in life. You've been buying your favorites your whole life. Yes. and you'll have more money left in your checking account at the end of the day. couponing takes a little effort. BIG IDEA 14: Write smaller checks to your grocery store. Save money on groceries. because that is what made them rich. this is simple math – but sometimes the obvious doesn’t hit home until you think about it. BIG IDEA 15: All grocery products were new at some point in time. Conversely. If your spare time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. it's less work for them than clipping your lawn.

larger debt over time. They want you in their store. They don’t worry about overcharging you. and they want you to fill your cart as high as it will go. and so will they. And for you. 31 . they're actually very. they're issuing them to gain market share and win your loyalty. They're not putting coupons out there to be charitable. Or a pair of scissors… BIG IDEA 22: Be charitable to yourself by using coupons and selecting brands that are on sale.. with the best items in their store. you probably won’t make the same income that you make today. give it to a real charity. Save money NOW while you’ve still got it – and you’ll have a lot more money later in life when you’ll need it more. If you really don't need to save money. consider hiring a neighborhood kid to clip your coupons for $10 per hour. very smart. BIG IDEA 21: If your time truly is worth more than $50 per hour. BIG IDEA 19: The people employed by the leading food manufacturers are not stupid. They're not worried about accepting a few coupons if it keeps you coming back. it's less work for him or her than clipping your lawn. You might even say – perish the thought – that they're attempting to BUY your loyalty… BIG IDEA 20: Later in life. you'll feel better. it's like making $40 an hour without lifting a finger. and that can be very hard to overcome. in fact.. and they’re already rich! BIG IDEA 18: Grocers make money every time a shopper selects their store over the competition. BIG IDEA 17: Don’t worry about taking money out of the pockets of the major food manufacturing companies.

32 .

Learn them. 33 . regulations and insider tips you'll need to know before you hit the grocery store. b. you WILL save money. The "grocery game" is a lot like a football game: If you PLAN to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you hit the aisles of your grocery store. i. BASIC COUPONING STRATEGY Here are the 10 "sacred rules" of couponing. TACTICS. up to 60¢. 1. The secret to tackling any major goal is to PLAN YOUR WORK. 20 coupon maximum per visit). 2. STRATEGY.e. (e. Live them. Think of the actual process of grocery shopping as being like a football game. Also find out if the store limits the number of coupons you can redeem in one visit. This is the actual implementation of the plan. The battle to save money at the grocery store begins long before you set foot in the store. Players train and exercise for months before they play the first game of the season.Chapter 6: Strategy and Tactics: How To Win the War for Your Wallet As any military strategist will tell you. NEVER try to use an expired coupon. and the many rules. This is the creation of a PLAN. DOUBLING LIMITS: Find out the maximum coupon value for doubling. 3. DOUBLING: Find out if the grocery store offers DOUBLE COUPON redemption.g. then WORK YOUR PLAN. up to 50¢. there are two parts to any battle plan: a. Let's look at the STRATEGY behind couponing. leave immediately and find a store that does. etc. They are in excellent physical condition and are well-versed on their team's playbook long before the first ball is hiked. up to 99¢. Generals always plan before they implement an attack on the battlefield. If not. EXPIRATION: Check expiration dates religiously before you shop.

If your coupon is expired. even low-value coupons. QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS: Does the coupon require you to buy 2 or more of the item to get the discount? 8. EXPIRATION Food companies issue coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. You will enjoy a double discount that gives you the item for a very low cost. Most coupons are brand specific. (can you buy only 1. Almost every coupon you clip will have an expiration date. 7. Coupons are negotiable documents.4. flavors and variations of the product. CLIP EVERYTHING. Many check out clerks check the expiration date before they scan the coupon. NEVER try to redeem a coupon for a brand other than the one shown on the coupon. BOGO POLICY: Find out the store's policy on BOGO (Buy One / Get One Free) specials. buy milk & cookies to get X¢ off on the cookies? 10.g. Plus. They have real value. or must you buy 2?) 5. the scanner will catch it instantly. if you knowingly attempt to redeem an expired coupon you are committing attempted fraud. or even FREE in some cases! Let’s review each of these 10 strategy items in detail. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS: Is a matching purchase needed to redeem the coupon. Take a minute to scan through ALL of your coupons before 34 .) 6. especially to the grocer who accepts them. BRAND REQUIREMENTS. HYPER VALUES. The scanners in most grocery stores identify each coupon by linking the barcode on your coupon to a database of valid coupons in circulation. e. or is there a specific choice requirement defined on the coupon? 9. Look for items that are on sale that you have a coupon for. Clip and keep ALL coupons for products you may want. (HINT: The highest-value coupon may not provide the best overall value. CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS: Is the coupon redeemable for all sizes.

the volume of coupons redeemed hits a peak. But just bear in mind that the store is simply the brokering agent for the coupon. so the total number of coupons redeemed goes up.. they are anticipating a 'bell curve' in their response. So when they issue a coupon on January 1st with an expiration date of March 31st. and your store manager may choose to call you out on it. Do it once too often. It looks something like this: The day the coupons are distributed. they start to appear in stores. (It’s unlikely that anyone has ever served jail time for attempting to redeem an expired grocery coupon. Over the next few weeks.. So you are really attempting to steal from the store. more and more consumers redeem the coupons. so there's another reason to be aware of coupons that are almost at their expiration date (but not beyond it. the food companies use coupons to boost seasonal sales of their products. At some point near the middle of the promotion.) As I stated go shopping so you can stay on the right side of the law… and your store manager. they have no chance of getting credit for it. the total number starts to decline and eventually trails off.) The expiration date can actually work in your favor. 35 . If they accept a coupon that is expired. From that point on.

Some important rules to know about doubling: 1. you would be concerned about declining sales at this point. you MUST shop there to get the most for your money – regardless of your store preference. In areas of EXTREME competition where the grocery chains are fighting for market share. a grocer may limit doubling to coupons up to 30¢ or 35¢ in value. and they may set a limit of 10 coupons per visit. The retailers know that only a small percentage of shoppers will actually take advantage of this offer – and those shoppers that do use coupons will often have just one or two that they found in their morning paper. In areas with high competition. It's almost mandatory when there are multiple grocers in your area competing for your business. See the 'BOGO' section later in this book to find out how this works. avoid these coupons if you are not willing to settle for the face discount value.If you charted out the total number of coupons redeemed from January 1st through March 31st. it's common to see doubling limits increased to 99¢ in value. Find out if your store doubles "DO NOT DOUBLE" coupons. and may do something to boost sales until the next coupons are distributed. especially senior citizens and families with children. If you were a product manager at the food company. 36 . you may find TRIPLING of coupons from time to time. VERY FEW PEOPLE USE COUPONS and this can be to your advantage. and a limit of 20 coupons per visit – or no limit at all. DOUBLING Coupon doubling is a popular technique used by grocery stores to attract shoppers. or offered as a 'BOGO'. Your store may or may not choose to double the coupon – and unless you know their policy for certain. This is when many products are put on special. When you see a store offering tripling of coupon values. In areas with only marginal competition. you would see that very few coupons are redeemed in the last week of the promotion – between March 24th & March 31st. Some manufacturers are printing the words "DO NOT DOUBLE" in the margins of the coupon.

When you view the face value of your store coupons. You may want to use a lower-value coupon. It’s true. you should get in the habit of determining their actual redemption value in the store you are shopping in. which could net out a greater discount for you. This will take a little practice.59 $2. Again. BEFORE you shop there. Doubling value of the coupon.29 on sale $1. Two factors have contributed to your savings here: a. The most common level you will find is 50¢. The price savings on Brand B seems very small but can often make a huge net difference in your total grocery bill. b. More about this later. If you don't.55 $1. A lesser-value coupon that is doubled can be worth more than a larger coupon that is NOT doubled.19 As you can see. DOUBLING LIMITS Every grocery store sets its own limits on the high value of coupon doubling. the net savings effect is multiplied. Check the prices for ALL brands for which you have coupons.00 $. but it will pay off big 37 . You must know the doubling limit of the store you are shopping in.2. you will very likely be disappointed at the check out counter. But combined with the sale price. IF the store has the item on sale.59 (coupon not doubled) $1. Determine the net redemption value of your coupon before you get to the checkout counter. Here is an example: Brand Name Store Price Coupon Value Net Cost To You After Coupon Doubling Brand A Spaghetti Sauce Brand B Spaghetti Sauce $2. although some stores go as low as 35¢ and some go as high as 99¢. you will save 40¢ by choosing Brand B – EVEN THOUGH your coupon had about half the face value of the coupon for Brand A. the coupon net value difference here seems negligible – only 10¢ net difference. Store sale. You can eventually achieve a lower net-cost per unit by selecting a brand for which you have a lower-value coupon.

Sometimes. the lower the coupon value.time in terms of savings. Here are some examples on how you should train your mind to think of coupons of different valuations. you get the second item for FREE when you buy one at the regular price. 2. OVERSTOCK. Perhaps the items did not sell as quickly as the store manager had anticipated and the inventory is approaching its expiration date. Coupon Face Value Redemption Value After Doubling 25¢ 35¢ 55¢ 60¢ 75¢ 50¢ 70¢ $1. They may have ordered too many of a given item and they simply do not have room to store them. BOGO POLICY Remember those old 'alien from outer space' movies where the jet pilot reported a "Bogie at 10:00?" You need to be on similar high alert in the grocery store: "BOGO in aisle 10!" What is a BOGO? It's a "Buy One / Get One" deal. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store. EXPIRATION DATE. The items must sell before the expiration date or be discarded at a 100% loss to the store when the expiration date is reached. the cost of storing the excess items may be excessive. the greater the net discount. Why do stores offer BOGOs? 1. This is why knowing the doubling limit of your grocery store is so important. Alternatively.10 60¢ 75¢ As you can see. This example is for a store that has set a 55¢ maximum value on coupon doubling. 38 . the highest value coupon does NOT always result in the greatest discount. It may be cheaper to clear the item out at half the price.

(although they are often chain-wide promotions offered by the leading grocers. they can buy just one and pay half the price. Here's an example to help you understand why: 39 . You cannot be timid when it comes to knowing the store's policy on BOGOs. However. do not pass up the BOGO deal. and it can make a big difference in your checkout total. they can often entice shoppers to change their store of preference. The store may be in an intense market share fight with a competitor. if the BOGO is for a non-perishable item that you could use in the future. buy two and put the extra item in your pantry or freezer. and in many stores it is NEVER the case. If you were going to buy the item anyway. or whether you can buy just one at half the price. By advertising a number of BOGO deals. Many shoppers will assume that if an item is on BOGO special. LOSS LEADER. 4. To build market share for a specific product in a specific store. it makes no sense to buy the extra (second) item. and they'll be glad to get it. This is not always the case. BOGO promotions are quick for a retailer to implement. If you honestly don't need two of an item. It is your right to know. This is the ideal time to use your store coupon. someone can use the second item. or you cannot use two containers before the expiration date.) A store may offer a quick two or three day BOGO promotion to clear out stockpiled inventory.3. Be bold: walk up to the customer service counter and ask the manager whether you MUST buy 2 of the item. They will NOT advertise their actual BOGO redemption policy. Grocery stores will blast their BOGO deals in big type on the front page of their flyers. the manufacturer's representative may give the store free merchandise to give away under a BOGO deal. Shoppers may visit one time to get the BOGO deals. MANUFACTURER PROMOTION. and the manager is hoping they enjoy the shopping experience and the values enough to switch stores permanently. Why? Because they have nothing to gain by doing so. You could also consider donating it to Second Harvest or your local food bank. Many times they are store-specific.

Buy one at $3. many stores will allow you to buy one box at half price. regular price $3. get one free. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. look how much you could save in this same example: PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: Gummy Gunk Cereal. You have now saved $2. And 40 .50. rather than buy one at full price and take a second box free. a savings of over 73% OFF RETAIL! CLIP EVERYTHING Let's cut to the chase: there is no need to clip coupons for 'Super Sugar Shack' cereal if you're a senior and don't have grandkids.50 – more than 54% OFF RETAIL! SUPER SECRET: Some stores have altered their BOGO policy to meet the needs of senior citizens.PRODUCT: COUPON VALUE: BOGO SALE PRICE: NET COST TO YOU: Gummy Gunk Cereal.50.25 each.00.00. Seniors who live alone often do not need two boxes of a product. $2. regular price $3.75 off normal retail on one box of cereal.50. $1. they consume so little that the second box would become stale before they use it. Box. 50¢ off on one box purchase. You have now saved $2. Store doubles the coupon value to $1. CHECK WITH YOUR STORE BEFORE YOU BUY! If your store allows half off purchasing of one item in a BOGO deal. To keep senior customers happy. for a grand total savings of $4. 21 oz. OFF ONE” POLICY: NET COST TO YOU: $0. 50¢ off on one box purchase. BOGO SALE PRICE AT STORE WITH “1/2 Buy one at $1. 21 oz.75 for one box of cereal.25 per box of cereal.50 for two boxes of cereal. Box.75.

not Brand B or Brand C. and you'll especially like them if you get them for FREE or close to free.00 Many people will pass over a 30¢ coupon as trivial. or coupons that at first glance seem worthless. A good way to tell is to look at the photo on the coupon. over and over again. What I mean by 'Clip Everything' is do not avoid coupons for brands you haven't tried. But as you can see in our example. And that's just about the best possible way to stretch your grocery budget. For example. Plus. OR. And the 'nickel and dime' coupons that you might think worthless can really add up in certain situations. it means that it is ONLY good for Brand A Peanut Butter.69 $1. the Brand A marketing people spent big bucks to get that coupon into distribution. some cereal companies will issue coupons good for two or more boxes of any brand of cereal they make. it's the thrill of the hunt. it is a thrill you will enjoy every week.29 50¢ $1. systematic couponing. Here's an example: Item Hot Sauce Crackers Ketchup Original Price $1. and they deserve the sale it generates. If you follow my techniques for regular. and not clip it. After all.there is no need to clip a coupon for denture cream if you're twentyfive and have a full set of pearly whites. you can look at the logos on the box to verify that it's one of their brands. It's not the free merchandise that is the reward. Be doubly careful about checking 41 . it results in what you will come to know as 'Coupon Nirvana'. which will typically show each brand they manufacture. You might like the brands you haven't tried. a feeling of euphoria and power. Where this gets tricky is when the coupon is for a 'family' of products. No legitimate grocer would accept a coupon for a brand other than the one shown. it can lead to getting a product totally FREE. BRAND REQUIREMENTS When a coupon says it is good for Brand A Peanut Butter.29 79¢ Sale Price 99¢ 59¢ Coupon Value 25¢ 30¢ Doubled Value 60¢ 50¢ Net Cost To You FREE 29¢ 49¢ % Savings Off Original Price 100% 82% 63% $1.

The immediate inclination is to assume that all three of these variations were on sale. so just go ahead and pick any two and get the deal. but the coupon may be valid for only one of these four types of frozen dinners. or simply an honest mistake on the part of a sleepy stock clerk? You be the judge… but the price of the sale bacon was $4. I had an experience recently where the store's print ad said that a particular brand of bacon was on BOGO sale. 42 . Bringing home the bacon gets a lot more expensive if you aren't on the alert. The industry calls these "line extensions".50 per package). one frozen dinner manufacturer offers "Duos". WRONGO-PONGO! The ad stated that the "Natural Choice" version was on sale. but bad if you select the wrong variation and have to pay full price for it. You should always double-check the flavor or brand variation. SIGNS LIE. The scanner will reject the coupon if you haven't selected the exact same type shown on the coupon. "Grilled Specialties" and "Bowls".99 per individual package. and the price of the NON-sale bacon was $5. and sign wording. and they may have five or even ten line extensions in the same food category. "Singles". All four are frozen dinners. only to realize at the checkout line that the coupon is for a different implementation of the same brand. You may see the brand name on the package and think it is the product described on the coupon. The variation that was on sale wasn't even near the display sign! Was this an intentional deception on the part of the store manager. sign placement. you'd pay about $7. but the sign was placed among the regular versions of the product. They're great for finicky eaters. If you picked up two of the non-sale variation. For example. There was a giant display sign in the middle of three different variations of the brand's bacon.00 extra for the same amount of meat. Another thing to watch is that you select the BRAND VARIATION a given coupon is valid for. This is especially true with brands that have extensive product lines such as 'healthy' or 'diet' foods. be on the alert that it's easy to select the wrong product. because they often won't scan properly.that you receive your discount on these types of coupons. Another thing I'd like to point out about Brand Requirements is that you can't believe your eyes when it comes to signs. If you see a wall full of products with the same brand logo.99 for two (net cost $2.

and will I consume this quantity within the normal shelf life of the product? b.00 on 2". but it's not on sale now. These type of coupons should put up red flags in your mind: a. 43 . QUANTITY REQUIREMENTS Some coupons require multiple purchases. you can't return food if there was no mistake on the store's part. they're not so certain. So don't believe what you see. and in fact they seem ticked that they were caught in a lie. So don't be afraid to stick to your guns. believe what you verify before you check out. So a flyer you find in the cart on a Sunday could have expired the day before. "Save $1. there is nothing you can do about it. SALES CLERKS LIE. FLYERS LIE. The cashier will scan two boxes of the product. don't use it until you verify that it's the current flyer. I would tend to think that a lot of shoppers made a mistake in their selection. so you will have technically purchased two. All you can do is to be more careful in the future. Do I need two of this item. If you find a sales flyer in your shopping cart.e. Factor this in when you are doing your 'net cost' calculations. The clerks don't necessarily clean out the shopping carts every day. All of a sudden. The one time that this quantity issue goes away is when the item is on BOGO (Buy One / Get One FREE). The face value of the coupon is automatically cut in HALF. Check the dates first. and the coupon will be authorized." I pull out the current sales flyer and show them the item. i. especially when you know you're right. because you must buy two of them. And once you've left the store. I've had sales clerks state with 100% certainty. When an item rings up wrong.And given that the sale sign was in the largest portion of the meat cooler among the largest inventory of all the brands of bacon sold in that store. "that item was on sale last week. and you will still enjoy the full value of the coupon discount. But you will only be charged for one item.

that is the rule. and is trying to sway people away from buying the 16 oz. The scanner will not accept the coupon if you try to use it with a 16 oz. and paying the regular price for your milk. The manufacturer may have an interest in promoting sales of their 32 oz. be sure to read the fine print. the coupon may say "FREE half-gallon of milk". bottle only. The same rule applies to flavors. It pays to do the math quickly in your head before using a matching requirement coupon. So if the coupon says the discount is valid on the 32 oz.85 to get a 'free' half-gallon of milk ($2. You may find that there are three other flavor choices on the shelf. In other words. bottle. bottle. and possibly a third coupon for the particular brand of cereal. package of our cookies AND an 18 oz. They will scan the product and the coupon and let you know if the coupon is valid on that specific variation of the product. One way to get increased value through 'matching requirement coupons' is to use ANOTHER coupon for the items required.CONTAINER SIZE / FLAVOR REQUIREMENTS This is another area where discretion is the better part of valor. you may find that you have a different coupon for the required brand of cookies. take the coupon and the flavor you want to the Customer Service window and ask. You may actually come out ahead buying store brand cookies and cereal. bottle. the store's 44 . If in doubt. The fine type may include the actual offer: Free milk when you buy a 16 oz. MATCHING REQUIREMENTS If a coupon offer looks too good to be true. So you must spend $7.000 items in the typical grocery store. The coupon may say that the discount is available on the "barbeque" flavor of sauce. Bear in mind that they are counting on you to pay the full retail price of their cookies ($3.50) and the full retail price of their cereal ($4.35). For example. in the example above. You have to understand that there are over 10. It may require a matching purchase.00). In most cases. There is no hard-and-fast rule about this. and in other cases it is valid for the one flavor only. box of our cereal. because sometimes the coupon is valid for all four flavors.

BONUS BUYS. Since the store will automatically double the coupon at check-out time. You'll now be paying $4. It's important to note that many of the special deals available at a store are NOT advertised on the store shelf. If they are overstocked on a particular manufacturer's line of cereal – or perhaps the manufacturer's rep really needs to boost volume in your area and extends special pricing to the store – you may find that your store extends a 'Bonus Buy' across the entire product will not consider these to be competing coupons.50 for the milk. IT MUST BE ON SALE. A typical example of this is in cereals: All Brand "A" cereals on a list will be 3 for $5. you are now getting the peaches for FREE. the bonus may apply to the 28 oz.00. IF THERE'S NO SIGN.33 per box. you could get $1.00 for 3 boxes of cereal. Instead of 99¢. the cashier must manually enter the price of the free item into the cash register. So if you had a 50¢ coupon for the cookies and a 35¢ coupon for the cereal. (Be sure to check the product name and package size requirements.70 in doubled value for these coupons. Here's how it works: Let's say that your store is overstocked with a certain brand and size of canned peaches. make sure you understand and use the strategy of 'Hyper Values'.00 off on any 3 boxes of Brand "A" cereal. or approximately $1. box of cereal and NOT the 18 oz. Another example is the 'Bonus Buys' that a store will offer. HYPER VALUES If you use only one strategy out of these coupon value-increasing ideas. The only way you'll find them is to read the flyer that shows up in your morning newspaper. It just doesn't get any better than this. You never know until you try. typically on a 45 . You happen to have a coupon for this brand offering 25¢ off a single can of fruit. In most cases. they offer them at 50% off. use it. box of cereal – so you could end up paying MORE for a SMALLER box if you're not careful!) If you have a coupon for $1. so the coupon is entered differently from the others and the store’s computer will not reject it as an attempted double redemption. they're marked down to 50¢. plus the cashier will take off the $1.

Wednesday or Thursday. These same flyers are also available on a rack when you enter the store. What is really laughable is that literally NOBODY picks up a flyer when they enter the store. How many times have you seen somebody poring over a store flyer before they shop? Almost never. The reason? It's déclassé, and most people 'just don't have time for that'. Again, if your time is more valuable than your money, breeze on by the stack of flyers. The 2 minutes you save by NOT reading the flyer could end up costing you $10, $20 or more. (But hey, it's only money).

Big Idea Recap – Chapter 6
BIG IDEA 23: The greatest savings in the “grocery game” are achieved when you PLAN in advance to save money and are PREPARED to save money before you ever hit the aisles of your grocery store. BIG IDEA 24: The closer to the coupon expiration date, the greater the chances that an additional promotion on the product has already started. It means that you can save even more on the same product. BIG IDEA 25: The food manufacturers know that many people will NEVER clip a coupon. For every person who REDEEMS a coupon, 10 others will READ the coupons and associate those brands with value. In other words, coupons are used to build impressions in your mind that certain products offer excellent quality AND value – regardless of whether they actually do or not. Unless you actually clip and redeem the coupon, you won’t receive that extra value. BIG IDEA 26: Watch for 'tripling' events. This is when a store offers triple the face value of the coupon. Some stores limit this promotion to 50¢, but others will triple up to 99¢ – so many of your items will be totally free after the discount. BIG IDEA 27: Sometimes, the lower the coupon value, the greater the net discount. (WHAT? Did I read that right, or is it a typographical error?) No, you did not read it incorrectly. Smaller-value coupons can often lead to larger savings at the grocery store.

BIG IDEA 28: Take advantage of BOGO deals on non-perishable items, even when you don't have an immediate need for the item. Canned goods or cleaning supplies will keep just fine for a year or two on the shelf – and you won't have to pay full-price the next time you need the item. BIG IDEA 29: If your grocer allows you to buy only one item at half-price under a 'BOGO' deal AND you are using a coupon on the purchase, your net savings amount for the one item will be much higher that if you purchased two units of the same item. BIG IDEA 30: Clip every coupon that is for a product that some member of your household could use, even if you've never tried the brand before. You might find a super-special on the item, and you might end up liking it more than your current brand. BIG IDEA 31: Check, double-check, even triple-check to make sure that the brand variation shown on your coupon is the same as the item you put into your shopping cart. If it's wrong, you will probably end up paying full price for the item. BIG IDEA 32: Don't make assumptions when selecting items that are on sale. Pick up a sales flyer when you first enter the store, and compare the wording & photo of the sale item to the item in your shopping cart; if it doesn't match exactly, investigate until you are certain that you have the correct sale item. Don't trust signs or sales flyers until you verify that the dates and brand variations shown are correct. BIG IDEA 33: Be wary of "save on 2" or "save on 3" coupons. You have to buy so many of the item, it can negate the net value of the coupon. BIG IDEA 34: If a coupon shows a photo of a particular flavor, don't assume it's valid for all flavors unless this is specifically stated on the coupon. BIG IDEA 35: If the purchase of 2 or 3 different items is required to get a free item, you may be able to use additional coupons to lower the cost of the 2 or 3 items individually. BIG IDEA 36: You can get certain items for FREE is you have a coupon

for sale items and your store doubles the value of your coupon. Read the ads, match your coupons to the ads, and do the math. It's that easy. BIG IDEA 37: Sometimes buying the bigger box costs less than buying the smaller box. BIG IDEA 38: The store is not required to call your attention to the items that are on sale. To get the best values you have to take note of the items that are featured in the store’s sales flyer, find those items, verify that you have selected the EXACT size / brand / variation that is on sale, and purchase those items. The sale items won’t jump into your cart by themselves (but if you’re not careful, similar products that you THINK are on sale but are actually NOT on sale, will be the ones that end up in your cart...)


Chapter 7: Couponing Tactics: The Simplest Way to Organize Coupons
There are many different gadgets and custom wallets on the market to help you organize your coupons. Some cost only a few dollars, others cost $15, $20 or more. YOU DON'T NEED THEM! There's a method I use that is basically free, uncomplicated, and flexible. It's simple, it's easy to remember, and once you get the hang of it, it will make finding your coupons a breeze. Use 8 ordinary white envelopes. If you're super-cheap, you can even re-use bank envelopes, payroll envelopes, or business reply envelopes from your junk mail, (now that's REALLY cheap.) When the envelopes wear out, simply replace them. I keep mine bundled with a rubber band, and I store them in the glove box of my car. That way, I always know where they are. Also they're easy to stick in a pocket when I head into the store. The 8 envelopes are categories of products and stores. Write the category and item listings on each of your envelopes, as follows: BAKED GOODS Bread / Baking Supplies Refrigerated Dinner Rolls / Biscuits Cereal Cookies / Crackers Chips / Candy / Nuts / Popcorn / Snacks CANNED GOODS & BEVERAGES Vegetables Salad Soup Fruit Juices / Soda Coffee MEAT & FROZEN Lunchmeats


e.00 off any $30 Order) Restaurant / Retail Store Coupons Specific-Store Coupons. reading a magazine or talking on the phone.- Bacon / Sausage / Fresh Meats Any Frozen Product (except Ice Cream) CONDIMENTS & SIDE DISHES Pasta / Sauces Boxed Meal Mixes Rice / Grains Salad Dressing Peanut Butter / Jelly Spices / Salt / Sugar Cooking Oil DAIRY Milk / Cheese / Sour Cream Eggs Ice Cream / Toppings Pudding / Dips CLEANING SUPPLIES Household Cleaning Products Paper Products Dog / Cat Food PERSONAL PRODUCTS Personal Hygiene Items / Soaps / Deodorant Medicine RESTAURANT & STORE DISCOUNTS Store Discount Coupons (i. i. it's important that you dedicate yourself to saving money.e. $50 or more and use your 15 minutes for more productive things – like watching TV. Drug Store Coupons HOW TO ORGANIZE YOUR COUPONS First off. $40. the system won't work. You should simply spend the extra $30. Yes. I'm 50 . If you can't set aside 15 minutes per week to deal with your coupons. $5.

place and routine for organizing and maintaining your coupons. – CLIP ALL AT ONCE. I use a small wicker basket. Before going on a shopping trip (or at least once every few weeks). Canned Goods. it can actually be illegal.being sarcastic. You have to have an almost religious zeal for following the system (or whatever system you prefer) and stick to it. or a sport – you have to do the same things like clockwork for an extended period of time before you will ever see any results. I lay the envelopes out on the table in 2 rows. because you really don’t tend to get as many coupons in the Personal Products and Restaurant 51 . When it's time to do my sorting. Keep all coupons in one place until they are sorted. in a specific order: Left row top to bottom: Meats. – SORT ALL AT ONCE. go through your envelopes and remove all expired coupons. go through the coupon sections and cut out any coupon you might consider using. I open the envelopes one by one and pull out any expired coupons. It's bad form. it can be embarrassing. When you have the time. It's important that you do not reject coupons by brand name or familiarity at this point. I keep my coupon envelopes held together with a rubber band. as follows: – CENTRAL LOCATION. and simply put the Sunday coupon sections in there until I have time to go through them. Then. But if it's something that you'd consider trying if it was free. NEVER try to use an out-of-date coupon. but the truth of the matter is that saving money takes time and dedication. a hobby. Side Dishes Right row top to bottom: Breads. and. Dairy. clip the coupon: it may end up free to you if you play your coupons right… – REVIEW EXPIRATION DATES. if you do it knowingly. obviously don't clip that coupon. It's like anything else – a diet. I find that it helps to set a specific time. If it's something you wouldn't even consider using. Cleaning Supplies I put the final two envelopes to the side.

I leave plenty of room between the envelopes. etc. bundle the envelopes back up with my rubber band. and will make it more relaxing and stress-free. this doesn't 52 .. It's a good thought. Do it the same way each week. and avoid the processed foods on the inner aisles. even 90 minutes. you can develop your own routine. Of course. lunch meat / frozen foods always go to the top left. If you follow the expert's advice. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. The most important thing is that you need an establish a fixed routine. you'll load up on fresh fruits & vegetables. they could be out of refrigeration for 45. i. If you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. and easier to stick to. meats. anything you can do to save time with your system will make it easier to follow. and you could be keeping them out of refrigeration for a dangerous amount of time. it’s just mentally easier. but not always practical if you've got a family and have to stock up on a wide range of items every time you shop. Of course. etc. SHOPPING TIME: organize your shopping trip to save time and keep food fresh. If you do this. Health experts will tell you to shop the perimeter of a grocery store first. if you buy fresh meats and you put them in your cart first. The benefit of following a routine is that you end up sorting without having to think about it. when I'm done. so I tend to focus on those most of all.& Store Discount categories. baked goods. For example. I put the new coupons in the envelopes. you'll have a lot of perishable items in your cart that will melt or lose freshness while you are browsing the inner aisles of the grocery store. and simply stack my new coupons immediately below each of the envelopes. This will make short work out of organizing your coupons. bread & cereal is always top right. and throw away my pile of expired coupons. follow each step to its completion in a quick and determined manner.e. Remember. Then. 60. Add in your drive time home. Most of your coupons will be in the “big six”. and do it all at once.

Let's say the Brand B coupon is for 50¢ off.99.00 off on an item we'll call 'Brand A'. There is literally nothing you can buy in the store that is better for your family's health than fresh fruit and vegetables. and that's the place to start shopping first. but your family will eat healthier if you focus your shopping in this section. REVIEW all coupons that you have for the category to see if you have coupons for the items that are on sale. $1. so it's EQUAL in value to Brand A's $1. It takes a little discipline. 2. SCAN.49. and they'll arrive home in much better condition. making Brand B a better value choice right from the start. When you have an appealing coupon. But 'Brand B' may be on sale for $2.e. so when you buy this brand you'll pay less without using a coupon. Immediately put the coupon in your designated coupon pocket or other storage place. 3. Save the bread.00 off. 4. When you have a match of coupon and sale item put the item in your cart. right? WRONG! In this case. POCKET. so the Brand A coupon offers you better savings. you'll pay $2. MATCH. Many people would simply look at the two coupons side by side: Brand A's coupon gives you $1.49 – fully ONE HALF THE NET COST OF THE BRAND A ITEM!!! Over time. you will find that 53 . and Brand B's coupon gives you 50¢ off. dairy products. you may be tempted to search out that exact item and buy it. you'll get a good value by buying Brand A. Let's say that Brand A's normal price is $3. i. But you may not be enjoying the BEST value.99. THE SYSTEM There are four simple steps when using store coupons: 1. Plus. your net cost of buying it will be $1.apply to produce.49. the 50¢ Brand B coupon will be doubled in value at the checkout counter. meat and frozen foods for last.00 off coupon. And chances are. With your dollar off. consider that you may have a coupon for the Brand B item. As an even better value proposition. because Brand B is on sale for $2. SCAN all products in the category to see what's on sale today. Let's review why each of these steps is critical to your couponing success.

See if your family can correctly identify which is the high-priced brand and which is the value brand. Manufacturers pay a 'slot fee' to buy shelf space. The plant I worked at manufactured one of the top-selling brands of pickles in the world. They gear up to keep their factories running 24/7. Yes. A can of toppriced peas will look delicious and inviting.SCANNING the entire product category before making a selection will be your #1 key to saving. Another quick test is to compare the bottle design. they typically won't know the difference. Buy two cans of an identical item. But here's a little secret (one I know from having worked at a pickle factory during summer break at college). because these manufacturers put a lot of effort into their packaging. because that is the only way they can get maximum efficiency and return on investment on their plants. Cook both items. which go for about three times the cost of generic. and serve them up in identical dishes. folks – it's a little-told secret of the food processing industry. do you really think your family will not eat the generic peas? Unless they see the cans. But when they're cooked and on your table. They carry lots of 54 . And frankly. Most people are reactive shoppers. try and run a taste-test contest with your family. They change the labels! If you doubt this. You'll find that in most stores. one of the high-priced brand and one of the low-priced store brand. and the highest-price space is right at eye level. I prefer the 'baby' peas. So when their factory reaches their quota of producing the name-brand product. the higher-priced items will be at eye level. not all generics offer the same quality as the top-shelf brands. REVIEW. What did we do when we reached our quota of the name brand product for the week? Well… we switched out the paper on the labeling machine. and used the generic-brand labels. they don't shut down the production line. they have a great food products section. I know. the results will be laughable: the value brand will be preferred in many cases. They grab the first thing they see that looks appealing. At my local dollar store. You may notice that the higher-priced brands look better. while a generic can of peas will look lackluster. I can assure you. Yes.

flavor. In fact.condiments and sauces. I mean that you should give a final check of the coupon details and the product details BEFORE you put the item into your cart. some of them will be downright awful. it tastes just like the leading brand. Now that you've chosen the best possible combination. The coupons they issue are typically good for just one of their soup categories. Take soup. and the coupon may only be good for one category of item. If you forget to MATCH the specifics of the coupon offer to the EXACT LABEL on the soup can. It may not always be the same quality as the leading brands. Check the brand name. So if you're astute and willing to do a little testing. Most of the biggest. Last but not the least.. and you’ll enjoy a real deal. but in some cases it is. When you taste the sauce. etc. You've seen above why it's important to SCAN all of the shelves for the best item and REVIEW all of your coupon and sale combination. POCKET the coupon. you could find that your coupon is rejected at the checkout counter – the ultimate coupon-cutter's nightmare. Their off-brand version of Worcestershire sauce is in a bottle that is shaped remarkably like the #1 brand in the world. But if you try them. it would simply be too costly for them to change recipes or ingredients to produce the 'off brands'. home-style soup. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. By this. MATCH. kitchen select soup. you might find that they’re the identical product made by the leading name-brand manufacturer. POCKET. for example. and single-serving microwavable soup for one. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or storebrand product. This may seem like a really dumb step. I'm not saying that every item you pick up in a dollar store is going to be identical to the leading brand. chunky soup. size. but it's actually very important. You have to physically present ALL of your coupons at the checkout counter 55 . as well as the expiration date. Some brands have four or five categories that are completely different. you need to MATCH your coupon to the item before you commit to the buy. One top brand sells regular soup.

You can't go back! Once your shopping transaction is completed. the easier it is to use – and the easier it is to use. Create your own system or use mine. especially if you have ever gotten in your car and realized that you forgot to present your coupons at the checkout counter. on every shopping trip. and putting them all in one safe secure place. the more likely you are to stick with it over time. So the coupons in your pocket that would have been worth $20 or $30 in actual cash savings will now be worth diddly-squat. to be thrown away at the first trash can I encounter. you will systematically save money. Just make sure you have a true system. If you do things the same way each week. does this sound too elementary and ridiculous to you? It won't. they won't be redeemed. Have you ever gotten home with your shopping bags and realized that there was an on-pack coupon that you forgot to use? Nothing is more galling than seeing a 50¢ "REDEEM ME NOW" coupon stuck to a box that you have already bought. If they don't make it into the hands of the checkout clerk. but now it's gone. Here's another reason why you have to be diligent in PHYSICALLY TRANSFERRING THE COUPON to your "POCKET" location for redemption. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 7 BIG IDEA 39: The simpler the system. that's just the way I do it – and it may not be the best choice for you. if I find that I have an expired coupon. BIG IDEA 40: If you can't FIND the coupons you need. and follow it like clockwork. I crush it up and put it in my right pocket. Every minute you put into organizing your coupons will 56 . Again. And it WILL add up over time. but that's just a personal preference. So it's important to get in the habit of POCKETING all of the coupons you plan to use. During the course of my shopping trip. the store won't let you go back and turn your coupons in. Again. you can't REDEEM them.when you are buying your groceries. You could have taken the family to the movies with that money. I use my left pocket.

buying more EXPENSIVE foods could actually SAVE you money. BIG IDEA 43: if you make a ROUTINE out of PLANNING to save money. don't let the 'bargain' price of an item make it your #1 choice. it's a sure way to remember to present them to the cashier before you pay. If you are astute and willing to do a little paid back to you in greater savings at the cash register. most efficient food manufacturing plants produce and package the off-brand products. similarly. Plan out a mental "road map" of how you will routinely shop in that store. you'll become more alert to spotting bargains and avoiding impulse buys. your coupons aren't worth the paper they're printed on… 57 . and you'll get better at them day after day. sticking to your PLAN will help you ROUTINELY save money. you'll never maximize your full potential of reducing your food budget. Follow that road map every time you do your big weekly shopping run. Reading the fine print can save you a bundle at the checkout counter. and you'll reduce your in-store time significantly. BIG IDEA 45: Don't let the high price of an item scare you off buying it. Remember. If you only consider buying familiar products or ones you've tried and used before.. BIG IDEA 48: Make it a routine to keep your coupons in the EXACT SAME PLACE every time you go shopping. BIG IDEA 42: Keep an open mind as to which products you would consider trying. BIG IDEA 47: Don't assume that a coupon is good for all sizes / flavors / variations of a particular brand item – even if it seems to be an obvious match.. calculate the FINAL COST of the item in your head after factoring in the doubled coupon value. BIG IDEA 44: Learn the layout of your grocery store(s). and you can actually SAVE MONEY by buying the EXPENSIVE brand! BIG IDEA 46: Most of the biggest. you may get the EXACT SAME QUALITY with a generic or store-brand product. Do things the same way every time. once you leave the store. In other words. BIG IDEA 41: Consistency is the key to effectiveness in any system.

58 .

The only difference is that they were issued by different entities: one by the U. It's true: some people have complete and total disdain for grocery coupons.* (Hey wait. and insert the 50¢ coupon into the shredder. try taking the 'Currency vs.Coupon Litmus Test If you are still questioning whether or not you are a "coupon person" (or could ever become one. and think they aren't worth the paper they're printed on.S. You may think you're not a candidate to save money. it is presented here for comparison purposes only. too. Keep this one fact in mind: the grocery store cash register doesn't care which is which: it sees both items as having a $1. Wake up and smell the mocha java. Step 1. *NOTE: Destruction of U.S. Now. currency is illegal. Okay. that’s REAL money we’re talking about.) here is one sure way to settle the issue once and for all. and one by a food manufacturer. doesn’t it?) Take a dollar bill out of your wallet or purse. people! 59 . Step 4. Look in your Sunday newspaper coupon section. and for shock value. (Feels good.00 value against the total purchase price of your groceries. insert the dollar bill into the shredder. Step 5. I don’t waste REAL money. Coupon Litmus Test'. so it is IDENTICAL IN VALUE to the dollar bill. Step 2.. and find a 50¢ coupon for a product that your family uses on a regular basis.Chapter 8: The Currency vs.!) Step 3. the 50¢ coupon would have been doubled in value at the time of redemption.. or you simply find the whole process distasteful. chances are there is one somewhere in your office. Locate a paper shredder. Turn the shredder on. If you are concerned that you may just be this type of person. either because you just can't be bothered to clip coupons. Does shredding the dollar bill bother you more than shredding the coupon? Why? At most grocery stores. Mint. Do not actually implement this test.

If you're throwing away the coupons from your Sunday paper. The coupon that you didn't clip might be the one that you wished you had later on… Big Idea Recap – Chapter 8 BIG IDEA 49: Coupons work just like currency at the cash register. and to be perfectly honest with you. "don't you feel like you've wasted a lot of time when you throw away expired coupons?" There is a bit of truth in this. you're throwing away cash. But think like a fisherman: you can whine about the ones that got away. The couponer's nightmare is thinking you've just scored the ultimate trifecta: BOGO deal. I only purge my coupons about once every month or so. The coupon you don't clip because you "can't afford that brand" could have made that item cheaper than the store brand on your next shopping trip.59 for it.00 item for 29¢ and you have to pay $1. or you can revel in the ones that you caught. 60 . coupon in hand. I sometimes get in a hurry. BIG IDEA 50: Unless you're an industry insider or a psychic. It only takes an extra 15 minutes or so when you're adding new coupons. the cashier informs you that the coupon you have presented is expired. store sells single item for half the price. you're still getting a great deal – but it's a huge let-down because you got tripped up by the fundamentals. THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE. Some people say. If this is your situation. but sometimes you just don't have those extra 15 minutes. just take an extra second to check the expiration date before you transfer the coupon to your left pocket. And remember: there is no way for you to know which items will be on special at your grocery store in three or four weeks. I've caught myself about to make a mistake like this many times. you don't know what's going to be on sale at your store in three or four weeks. especially when you're throwing away a stack of 50 or 75 coupons that you painstakingly clipped a few months earlier. Then. It's all just part of the process.CLEANLINESS IS NEXT TO GODLINESS: purging your expired coupons. When you think you're getting a $3.

They sell this information to data compilers and marketing firms. You must join every club. You sign up for the program at the Customer Service counter. the club member's price.Chapter 9: Clubs. Cards & Counterintelligence FREQUENT SHOPPER CARDS: Value. As any astute shopper knows. SCAN. the ONLY way you can get the 'sale' prices on the item is to be a member of their shopping club. You join the club. Look for the special discount signs on products throughout the store. and the barcode identifies you to the store's computer every time you shop there. and typically they give you a plastic sheet with a punch-out membership card and a couple of punch out key fobs. SHOP. 2. and B. 3. with a price. JOIN. When you go to check out. minimally tells you) is that their system is collecting information on your family's purchasing habits and product preferences. Here's how these clubs work: 1. a store makes more money by selling this information than they do on the products you have purchased! Why is your information so valuable? The truth is individual family 61 . In most stores. GET ANALYZED. What the store DOESN'T tell you (or at best. You will receive the club member discount price on the featured items. the only way to get the lowest prices in the grocery store is to join the store's frequent shopper club program. at every store you shop in – even if you only shop there once or twice per year. you present your card or your key fob to the cashier. Often. All of these items feature a barcode. The cashier will scan the barcode on the card or key fob. Why? Because you will save money immediately and instantly every time you shop. the regular price. and the computer will instantly recognize you as a club member. 4. They will typically show two prices: A.

Here's something else that few shoppers know: consumer product manufacturers pay stores a 'slot fee' for the space on their shelves. they will realize that they DO NOT have to lower the price of this product below this point to maintain market share. '2 for $3. That is why a national brand gets the middle shelves that are at eye level.000 and $80. because they know that most consumers are lazy and will buy the first product that they see in the category they are shopping for. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. Of course. They will have learned that their target audience – affluent young families with children – are perfectly happy to buy two units at a total savings of 40¢ – and there is no need to offer a lower price point or a 'Buy one / get one free' package deal. This translates into huge sales and huge revenues for the manufacturers. The national brands pay the highest shelf fees. The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. BUT – they will also be monitoring the demographics of the people purchasing them. they will monitor the sales of this item by the total number of items sold. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they 62 . so they make the most money off of you. For example. when the normal price of a single item is $2. But as a member of a specific demographic group.000. let's say that your household income is between $75.information is not extremely valuable by itself.19. If they find that families with your demographic indicators participate in this pricing offer 45% more than families with lower incomes. i. and the grocery industry wants you to buy the smallest packages of the most expensive brands at the highest prices. and the discount store brands get the bottom shelves. You are a powerhouse consumer.99'. Let's say for example that the store features a national brand of cookies at a special rate. "Big Brother" is alive and well. your data can help identify trends and validate information that is VERY profitable to the grocery product industry. your age is 35 to 40 and you have 3 children under the age of 10.e. The market will have spoken loud and clear and saved the manufacturer a ton of money in promoting that specific product. They are committed to influencing you to shop this way.

street address. children's age. (ever notice that they ALWAYS keep the cheese in the back of the store…?) The truth of the matter is that shoppers' clubs are the ultimate tool used by the food industry to make you a walking. talking participant in the world's largest focus group. You need to join them. CLUB MEMBER CODE. etc. you can't keep any secrets from the grocery store's computer. Now. Welcome to the Maze. they are in essence telling the store manager. Every item in the store carries a product code. you're not too far off the mark. Most of this information is available from national consumer databases anyway. marital status. You tell them your name. before you get shocked or scared or decide to quit the shopper's club (a truly BAD idea). etc. although they will. PRODUCT CODE. just about every purchase you make is being monitored. Every different size / shape / flavor has a unique code that is captured when the check-out clerk scans the package.will pay any cost for a particular item. The computer knows what every item is. The real goal behind these clubs is something… well…. If you've ever thought that the aisles in your grocery store can seem like a rat maze in a testing laboratory. As a club member. too. you have to fill out a registration form. recorded and analyzed for future use by marketing firms. slightly more sinister. That little store tag you keep on your key chain has a barcode. Guess what product that code 63 . 3. To get your discount card or key tag that entitles you to discounts at the store. "PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… This is all a long way of saying that discount clubs will save you money every time you shop. But the main purpose of these clubs is not to save you money. let's look at how this happens: 1. They may ask you for some demographic information such as your age. in infinite detail. you can see it below the barcode on the package. REGISTRATION. 2.

The ultimate solution being. The information saves them time. And it knows that you tried a competing grocery chain in August because the 1. Scary stuff. and they can reap this data to sell more of THEIR product using the data.represents? It's YOU. Why would they do this to you. In fact.4 bottle level dropped to 0. But wait a minute – isn't it true that the affluent neighborhoods sell more of everything at a higher price. does it? No. no. huh? And that's just the tip of the iceberg lettuce…. they'll sell it to just about anyone who wants it. They've picked it. It knows that you have tried the store brand dressing once. And these guys know all about the low-hanging fruit. shipped it. people whose job is to SELL YOU MORE STUFF! Information is money and time is money.6 that month. manufacturer "B" may 'cut to the chase' quicker by purchasing this information. their loyal customer? This information is worth BIG BUCKS to people in the industry. so they can get to the ultimate solution faster. in a word. But it doesn't know that you like to sneak out and get a pint of premium ice cream on a Saturday night. getting you to buy more stuff at a higher price and consume it faster. It knows that you got crazy last November and tried the balsamic vinaigrette but it probably wasn't a hit because you didn't buy it again. no… Of course it DOES know that your household consumes 1. But if you view the nation as a giant pyramid based on affluence.4 bottles of Italian salad dressing per month. and sold it for years. where you live. packaged it. SHARED DATA. surely they're keeping it private – aren't they??? Well.1 bottles per month. compared to your neighbor across the street whose family consumes 2. but prefer the name brand variety. this falls under the category of 'picking the lowest-hanging fruit first'. The computer knows who you are. So if manufacturer "A" has a wealth of information on the salad dressing preferences in a particular metropolitan area. the top 1/10th of that 64 . 4. and what you buy. NO. If your grocery store chain knows all of these intimate details about your household. so the manufacturers just focus on THOSE markets? Why would they mess with the many lower or middle-income neighborhoods in the nation? Actually. They can save a year or more of expensive research time.

) These values can help Betty really save some cash. they can use the same technique to influence the 15. but the big family-size boxes. not just the wealthiest households.3 million other shoppers like Betty who live in similar-size communities and make similar levels of income.pyramid is the affluent markets.7 boxes per month – and not the smaller boxes. So the kids are happy. After all. The good part of this whole process is that you are proving your worth to the food industry with every purchase you make.7 boxes for the past 3 years – has dwindled to…. ZERO 65 . The manufacturers of "Berry Blop" cereal are envious. EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. Based on sheer numbers. GOOD DATA = GOOD VALUES. Her kids seem to like "Fruit Goop" cereal. So Betty starts getting some really interesting coupons in the mail or through the internet (see the online coupon section at the end of this book. 5. SIMPLY PUT: you may live in Podunk. let's look at a fictitious customer "Betty" who lives in a smaller rural city. the majority of the profit for these food manufacturers is found in the secondary markets and lower. Betty's happy because she saved a lot of cash. You're part of a larger consumer group. and they'd sure like Betty to migrate over to their brands. if only she would try them. To see how this works. The bottom 90% of the pyramid is the lower to middle-income neighborhoods. but she's doing alright. if they can figure out how to get her to switch brands and become a loyal customer of theirs. but the information on your buying habits is just as important – and possibly even MORE important – than the buying habits of rich people on Rodeo Drive. But the story doesn't end there… The manufacturers of Fruit Goop cereal notice that Betty's volume – a steady 4. because she's buying 4. and the food manufacturer is happy because he's successfully migrated Betty away from Fruit Goop. and lo and behold – the kids could care less whether they're eating Fruit Goop or Berry Blop. So Betty redeems the coupon and brings the cereal home. Betty doesn't make a huge income.

BOXES! Flashing red lights and alarms are going off in the factory. "Something must be done," shouts the big boss with the cigar in his mouth. And so the legions of marketers snap into action and start blitzing Betty with huge discounts on Fruit Goop cereal. So now she can redeem these coupons on Fruit Goop and save even more money. The kids, meanwhile, are mass-consuming whatever she pours into their bowls. They're oblivious. Betty is ecstatic; her monthly food bills are going down. But wait, there's more… The manufacturer of Berry Blop notices that he's losing out again. He redoubles his effort – issuing even more coupons for the brand that he knows Betty's brood prefers two to one over Fruit Goop. So Betty uses those coupons on her next shopping trip. Repeat this cycle over and over, until the Betty clan outgrows their preference for excessivelysugared products, and wakes up to real nutrition. Then, the manufacturers start in on her new neighbors who have younger kids… While cynical and exaggerated, the example of "Betty" above is the basic process of couponing in America today. And while the delivery vehicles are not always so targeted, the industry is headed more and more in this direction. Take note of the coupons that are printed at the cash register: these are the principal ammunition in the household preference wars. Some coupons are printed and delivered directly to the household, but these are on a more infrequent basis due to the high cost. The biggest volume of activity in these wars takes place on a market-by-market level. The industry looks at overall performance by select demographic groups, and responds to the market as a whole by varying the coupon amounts and promotional activity by individual market. This is far more prevalent than individual household couponing. But the industry is getting more household-centric as technology gets more advanced. And certain changes in our technology-savvy households are closer than you think… 6. GUESS WHO'S COMING TO (TV) DINNER? (Apologies to Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier and Katharine Hepburn). Did you know that over-the-air TV broadcast is ending in 2009? More and more households are buying High Definition TV sets (HDTV), and soon everyone will have a digital receiver (or 2, 3, 4 or more) in their household. The color and clarity will be fantastic. The number and


diversity of the channels will be spectacular. And the commercials? Well, they'll be aimed directly between your eyes, or more specifically – your wallet. Let's say your name is Suzy Shopper and your neighbor across the street is Charlie Consumer, and you're both watching the latest chapter of "Desperate Cowgirls", the #1 network show far and wide. When it goes to commercial, you – Suzy Shopper – are viewing a commercial for the latest gas-guzzling vehicle to sputter out of Detroit. That's because you're driving a seven year old import, and your index potential for a new car purchase in the next six months is off the charts. Your neighbor Charlie, meanwhile, is viewing a commercial for golf clubs, because he plays golf six times a month. Hey – wait a minute – how did they know he's a golfer and I'm driving an old car??? And how the heck did they change those commercials out between our two households…??? This is simple stuff with the new technology in place today. And as far as knowing your lifestyle / hobbies / major purchases and brand preference? Heck, they even know what brand toothpaste you use… So how does this relate to you, Suzy Shopper and Charlie Consumer, each snug in your little condos in front of your blazing hot widescreen Plasma HDTVs? The marketers are coming for you both – individually and personally – and they're out for nothing less than total mind control. Okay, that sounded a little out there even for me… but the truth is that your buying habits are being monitored and addressed on increasingly-specific levels. The war for your wallet is gearing up for high speed, high-tech battle. And in the grand scheme of things, you are powerless to stop it. Sure, you can TiVo your way out of the commercials. But guess what? Soon enough, you won't WANT to. And here's why: Here you are, Suzy Shopper, watching the Cowgirls prance across your screen. Before you can grab the remote, a commercial for the new "MegaSmog V8 convertible" comes across your screen, and the graphic says, "Suzy – we'll pay you $100 to test drive this car today!" And you're thinking, "WOW – I could really use that $100 to buy 5 gallons


of gas for my current car, but I'm never going to buy a new car; I'll just go down there and get my free cash!" So you go down to the dealership, and you get your $100. The dealer is happy, too, because he knows that you are an interested shopper. He will continue to target you until you finally convert and buy the new car. It's a numbers game, so he's just happy to move you up the priority ladder among prospects. Meanwhile, your neighbor Charlie was previously watching Desperate Cowgirls, but he got bored and switched over to the Knitting Network. Guess what? The commercials followed him over there. In the future (i.e. now, or thereabouts), advertisers will buy time by households, segmented by very precise demographic indicators, rather than by blocks of time on a network. So whatever channel you select, you'll get a certain amount of household-specific offers. So Charlie is watching "Knit One / Purl, Too!" – on the knitting Network, his favorite hobby channel, and up comes a commercial for the latest set of golf clubs from Wham-Co. Charlie is perfectly happy with his old set of clubs, but the ad says, "Hey Charlie – come to Gargantuan Golf World this weekend, and we'll give you a dozen balls free – just for testing our new clubs.” Charlie was headed there to pick up some new balls anyway, so he says "what the heck" and heads off to the store. Soon thereafter, he's on the driving range blasting away with his new set of Wham-Co clubs, which, as he discovered at the store, he simply could not live without… THE MORAL OF THE STORY: It's really quite simple: whether you are a prospect for a new car, a set of golf clubs, or a year's supply of Fruit Goop cereal, your shopping selections are VERY IMPORTANT to manufacturers today. If you learn how to play their game and work their system, you can enjoy some real values and real savings. You may scoff at grocery coupons today. But coupons are coming your way, even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them.


"PLEASE RAISE OUR PRICES!" And guess what? The manager will gladly comply… BIG IDEA 54: Get a frequent shopper cart at every grocery store you visit. they are in essence telling the store manager. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 9 BIG IDEA 51: If you "don't have time" to sign up for the grocery store shopper's club. Is this whole process a bad thing or a good thing? Well. If shoppers are lazy and prove that they will pay any cost for a particular item. you "don't have time" to save money. There is really no down side to this or personal repercussions. If you are a member of a frequent-shopper club. The decision to join the club or not join the club is a personal one.The firms that purchase your family's shopping habits and brand preferences from your local grocery store are doing it now. for every item in the store. thank you. BIG IDEA 52: "Big Brother" is alive and well. so make an informed decision for you and your family that matches your personal preferences and comfort levels. but you need to know that you’re part of one of the world’s largest focus groups of all time. so there are immediate benefits to you that can help your family's budget. and the truth is that this process will go on very well without you. you DO end up saving money when you use the club card. You're really not helping any cause or righting any wrongs by NOT participating in the program. So I don't have any problem in recommending shopping club membership to everyone. Much of this data originates from the lowly-little 'frequent shopper club' tag sitting on your key chain. 69 . the bargains are well worth it. But in my book. getting the most for your shopping dollar is first and foremost. Affix a "sucker" label to your forehead and tell people proudly that you pay full price. every day. BIG IDEA 53: The buying patterns of shoppers at your local grocery store often dictate the prices you will pay. and they will continue to do it in the future. Are there long-term disadvantages? That is a debatable subject. be aware that every purchase you make – or don’t make – is being monitored. he's hiding in the aisles of your grocery store. even if you only shop there once or twice a year.

not just the wealthiest households. BIG IDEA 56: EVERY consumer in America is of interest to the food manufacturers. BIG IDEA 57: The more coupons you redeem. even if you don't plan to return anytime soon. If you learn how to play their game.O. you'll have to pay with cash because they can get your address off your check or your credit/ debit card. The shopping actions of a lower-income household are monitored just as closely as those of the most affluent households. But coupons are coming your way. or a P. Of course. HDTV sets. BIG IDEA 58: Today's brand marketers know a LOT about you already. you can enjoy increasing amounts of free stuff. BIG IDEA 60: Sign up for frequent shopper clubs at every grocery store you visit. you'll get the card immediately. You'll still get the card and enjoy the discounts. the more interest you will attract from food marketers. 70 . but it will be harder for the store to link this to your home address. cell phones and other high-ticket items. because you’ll get lots of free stuff and better deals on virtually everything you buy – even cars.BIG IDEA 55: Concerned about privacy? Register using your work address. And you will WANT to view them and redeem them. and you could save $10 or $20 just on your one visit. get a card at the grocery store in that area. You'll get more offers and better values over time. Box. BIG IDEA 59: You may scoff at grocery coupons today. If you're traveling on vacation and need groceries. even if you never open the Sunday newspaper or read your mail: they will simply be delivered electronically. The sooner you start the process. the sooner you'll get into the higher discount levels. discounts and special values that other people won't enjoy.

It's not always true. hair coloring. What is a rebate club? Simply put. Seniors spend more per capita on prescriptions than any other demographic group. just to pick up their rebate club flyer. When it comes to pharmacies. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. (Does anyone use toupee wax anymore? There's a question for the ages…) So if you're like most people. The store that you use to get your prescriptions filled is generally the store that you get your drug store supplies from. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. which issue a monthly flyer of offers. These are typically found at the larger drug store chains. but people do tend to have their #1 favorite in terms of where they buy their shampoo. If you visit 3 stores a month. it's the seniors.Chapter 10: The Power of Rebate Clubs. etc. and every item was something that somebody in my family could use. you rarely – if ever – venture over to the 'brand X' pharmacy. aka “Your Check’s in the Mail” Why you should join every one you can. My record on free items is $62 in one month. Here's a money-saving tip: wander over there at least once a month. Visit all the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month.000 a year on drug store supplies! It's no secret that the pharmacy chains are in big competition with each other.800 a year. because some people get their prescriptions at the food store. when they're 71 . this one technique alone could save you over $1. The store doesn't care about giving $20 or $30 in rebate money to a senior. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. The target for these clubs is not the income-earning. people are definitely creatures of habit. it is an ongoing store promotion that lets you purchase items and get some or all of the purchase price back in the form of a cash rebate. even if you don't normally shop there. hard-working youth of America. toupee wax. so most of the big chains offer rebate clubs.

00. but they don't want people buying it just because of that. Here's how rebate club programs typically work: 1. 72 4. This is a subtle way by which they try to discourage the 'freebie' nuts that will take anything for free – even if they don't want or need it.00 rebate on a $2. i.e.) 3. a $7.00 or $3. but in some tourist destinations you have to ask the cashier for a copy of the rebate book. MAIL IN THE REBATE REQUEST. 2. the flyer is on a rack as you enter the store. because they don't want low-dollar customers to take advantage of the rebates. Others will be $1. unless you are super-diligent and/or a frequent visitor to that store anyway.99 bottle of sun tan lotion with a $7. GET THE REBATE BOOK OR FLYER. because some manufacturers will offer a $3. One major drug store chain that will go unnamed has started to stagger their rebate offers throughout the month. but you must buy it between the first and 7th of the month. You may be a struggling young family with a little cash in the bank but you are entitled to get the rebates just like anyone else. Be sure to process your . but you have to purchase it between the 8th and 16th of the month.99 rebate for buying it. the next item may also give you a 100% rebate. The truth is that the stores cannot legally exclude any individual from getting the rebates. You will typically find items that are offered with a 100% rebate.00 off the purchase price of the item. it's really free. In most drug stores. They're trying to encourage repeat visits. but they only tell you this in the fine print. Apparently.99 item. CHECK THE OFFER DATES. $2. It's critical that you check the valid dates of the offer. the first free item may earn you a 100% rebate.going to buy $200 or $300 in prescriptions each month. REVIEW THE OFFERS. (HINT: be a 'freebie' nut. You have to check these carefully. but it's really more trouble than it's worth. they don't want tourists with disposable cash to get a break on anything – especially if they're ready to pay full price without question. I have found that some national chains offer the rebate club in all markets. In other words. Or it could be that they only want to offer the book to seniors.

which is the next critical point. The sad truth is that a very high percentage of people who intend to mail in their rebate requests never quite get around to it. CHECK THE POSTMARK DATE REQUIREMENTS. and most people will surely forget to do the paperwork – thus. READ THE REQUIREMENTS. but you can bet that I called them out on it and eventually got my rebate. you'll have proof of mailing it in. What you DON'T want to do is say. so they’ll use any and all excuses not to issue the rebate check.rebate request and mail it off IMMEDIATELY when you get home. 5. exactly the way they say it. I was once denied a $50 rebate check because the store’s cash register didn’t date the receipt. Another critical item is the postmark date on your mail-in rebate request. Some rebates require that you cut out the barcode off the product. SIDE NOTE: if you are allowed to use your company postage meter. and they are counting on you to procrastinate. if you are responding to a January Rebate Club offer. Some of the less-scrupulous clubs or their 3rd party vendors will try to get around sending you a rebate check. Here's a rule that works for me: I don't allow myself to put the products away until I have completed the rebate forms AND sealed the envelope. It's a good practice to photocopy everything and keep in a file. The stores really don’t want to give you the rebate. your mail-in request MUST be postmarked by February 5th. If you want to be sure you get every extra dollar that's coming to you. if you haven't gotten your rebate. because some of these stores will deny you the rebate if you don't do everything they say. KEEP A PHOTO COPY. don't procrastinate: set a filing procedure that works for you and stick to it. How did I do it? I had back-up ammunition. After a few months. That gives you positive proof that you mailed it 73 . "I'll do it later" – because out of sight is out of mind. or they will refuse it. or write the product’s barcode number down on your rebate form. The retailers call this "breakage". they lose their rebate – and that is what the drug store chains are counting on. For most clubs. Think you can ‘slide’? Don’t count on it. 6. you can photocopy your outer envelope with the postmark date. How does a cash register malfunction and not print the date? It’s beyond me. Read the fine print. 7.

use it first when making purchases at the store. rather than have them issue you a check.within the proper timeframe. and simply turned my photocopies in to their regional managers. BUG 'EM IF THEY'RE LATE. but on more than one occasion I have had a rebate processing company deny my rebate claiming that I violated rule X. 74 The downside of rebate clubs is that your cash is tied up for 30 to 60 . Some stores use a magnetic stripe gift card to provide rebate funds. Plus. You don't earn interest by keeping the value on the card. Proving this would be difficult. The store managers have always made good on the rebate offers. then pay any remaining balance with cash. USE YOUR GIFT CARD'S STORED VALUE FIRST. This may seem like a lot of work. but if you're denied a $50 or greater rebate like I was. it's good money management. Using my photocopies. Some companies intentionally do not mail rebate checks unless the consumer calls to complain. 9. They're counting on a large number of respondents simply forgetting about it. It may seem trivial. but that's not my concern: I just want what's coming to me. and a welltimed call to a 1-800-number can often get you quick service on your rebate request. it becomes your word against theirs – and having a back-up plan can help settle the dispute in your favor. If your store puts your rebate amount on a gift card. and you can't turn it in for cash. Plus. So always use the credit before using real cash. but only mail out checks to a small portion of the consumers. it's a huge kick to buy the next month's freebies with a gift card. It's cheaper for them than issuing checks. And I wouldn't be shocked if the third party processing companies turn in 100% of the rebate requests to the retailer. CASH SECOND. one major chain offers you a 10% 'bump' in your rebate total if you'll allow them to post the rebate amount to your rechargeable gift card. which saves the rebate company a lot of cash. USE THE STORE'S GIFT CARD PLAN. Don't be afraid to call the rebate company if they're late mailing you a check. so you're actually getting more free stuff without spending any actual cash… 10. It's a handy way to get a little extra cash back. 8. I've gone to the store manager and pointed out that I did everything I was asked to.

00 off on three brand-name products! There are several things you should be aware of. So I could easily get a total of $8.00 off coupons on several others. however: • No Doubling. good on a select manufacturer's brand of soaps and shampoos: buy any 3 and get $3. (No big deal here. If you are really cash-strapped. Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already. and you'll be pinned to the floor with an AK47 pointed at your forehead. that may be a little bit exaggerated. the secret 'coupon police' in dark suits with sunglasses will come rushing in. I would suggest putting the purchases on a credit card.00 store coupon issued by the retailer. The Most Amazing. and $1. deposit it and IMMEDIATELY write a check in the exact amount to your credit card company.days while your rebate form is being processed. when the rebate check arrives." In checking the other coupons. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store.) 75 . You only have to do this once. Sorry – there is no way around this one. Most drug stores do NOT double coupons like the grocery stores do. The headline read. and the stores don't like it and won't accept it.00 off coupon on one brand of shampoo. then. I found a $2. Well-Hidden Drug Store Shopping Secret. that some drug stores not only accept it but ENCOURAGE it? It's true! A recent flyer in my Sunday newspaper showed a $3. because stores in my area only double up to 50¢ – one up to 99¢ – and these coupons were all above that value. In most grocery stores. Another secret about shopping at the big-box drug stores that you may never have heard of is the availability of multiple coupon redemption. Then. Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all the rebates that are available. presenting a second coupon for a single item will cause the cash register to error out. Why is it. You can use the rebate amount to purchase the next month's rebate items. Well. but you get the point: double-coupon presentment is fraud. if you do it right.00 off. "Save even more with manufacturer coupons found in today's paper. Alarms will go off.

Big Idea Recap – Chapter 10 BIG IDEA 61: Visit all of the major drug store chain stores in your area at least once a month. And if you have teenagers in the family whose entire world revolves around hair volume. Even if you're not super-diligent or the offers aren't that lucrative every month of the year. the savings are still well worth the effort of claiming them. however. at the same time. The rebate club offers can allow you to get as much as $50 in FREE merchandise each month. When the drug store puts out savings like this. Saving $8.800 a year. BIG IDEA 63: Some drug store chains will let you redeem both STORE coupons and MANUFACTURER coupons for the same item. If you visit 3 stores a month.00 per item for premium products – in this case hair care items. you could literally get $150 in FREE stuff each month – up to $1. many of which are only available from a pharmacy and not a dollar store. even if you don't normally shop there. All that said.000 a year on drug store supplies! BIG IDEA 62: Rebate clubs give you money back on everyday items that you're probably buying already.00 on a total purchase price of $14 for three items is a bargain among bargains – you end up paying $2. bounce and shine – getting premium products makes all the difference in the world. this one technique alone could save you over $1.• No Price Reductions. It gives you a double-whammy of savings and often makes it possible for you to buy the super-premium brands at a price that is less than the 'bargain' no-name products! 76 . Since you need them and are going to buy them anyway – regardless of the cost – it's well worth your time to apply for and get all of the rebates that are available. the items are usually priced at full retail value – so you're starting from the highest price-point possible.

circling each of the ten on the receipt. using the 'buy 10' offer as an example. 2. As always – there are details and conditions you have to know. cans of Fizzy-Soda may not qualify if the coupon specifically requires that you buy 16 oz. 1. A typical example is "$5 cash back when you buy 10 of your favorites!" The ad will show a photo of the items you have to buy to get the rebate. Another key thing to watch is the quantity per individual item that is allowed. READ THE FINE PRINT. read it. Here are some of the 'secrets' of gaining the best value with a rebate. The offer may require that you send in the original cash register receipt for each of the 10 items. Unless the fine print specifically says that all sizes and flavors qualify. you can buy up to two of any particular item – any more of that item will not count towards the ten-item minimum. But instead of just giving the fine print a cursory glance. bottles of Fizzy-Soda. so this one is obvious.50 per item purchased.) There may be a date limit to your purchase. minus the cost of the envelope and stamp to mail it back in. assume that their 77 . but the photo may show a certain flavor or packaging style of that product. the offer may require that you mail in the original coupon and not use a photocopy or printout off a rebate website. so be sure you follow them so you'll actually get the rebate check in the mail rather than a "we're sorry" notice. LOOK AT THE PHOTO. They may require a certain size / flavor / packaging of the product (12 oz. Remember that this offer gives you back $0. so you can't use last week's receipt if the starting date is from this week's newspaper. In this case. and understand it BEFORE you shop – or you could be off the rebate money.Chapter 11: A Rebate Returned is Money Earned INDIVIDUAL PRODUCT OR BRAND REBATES: Are they worth the effort? YES!!! One way that manufacturers attempt to boost the sales of their entire product line is to offer a cash back deal when you buy a certain number of their products. Okay. Also. The fine print may say that the offer is good on a particular brand of product.

99 'Helper' Meal Mix $2.80 (40¢ coupon) $0.99 $1.49 Biscuits in a Tube $1. they're also on sale quite frequently.10 (55¢ coupon) $1. Here's why: a.78 Quantity 2 ($0.50 $0.50 $0.39 $1.30) $0.30) $0. The Mexican food line is also heavily couponed. To get the maximum value for your effort. yogurt drinks.intention is that you buy the one shown in the photo.00) .00 (qty.01) $0.00 ($13.59 Croissants in a Tube $1. your mission should be to purchase the 10 lowest-price items that will qualify for the offer. LOOK AT WHAT'S NOT IN THE PHOTO.39 $0.09 $2. meaning you can find coupons for these items every day in numerous places.59 Yogurt in a Tube $3.99 $1.50 $0. the photo shows the higher-priced items – kids-size yogurt tubes. but they're not shown in the photo.09 $1. and use coupons when purchasing as many of the 10 items as possible. 2) $0. Other products are listed in the fine print as qualifying for the offer.99 FINAL COST $24.70 (35¢ coupon) $0.89 each) Frozen Carrots $1.10 (55¢ coupon) $0. 3.49 $2.59 $0. See if you can guess why these items weren't shown: soup.00 per can.70 (35¢ coupon) $1. kids' fruit snacks.00 (50¢ coupon) $0. c.30 TOTAL SAVINGS $0 78 $1.49 $19. A little detective work can often greatly increase the value you get from the rebate.89 $2.50 $0.50 $1.50 $0. and you can also find coupons for them from time to time.10 (55¢ coupon) ($8.39 $11.29 ($0. In one example.78 $0. The soup line is already heavily couponed. meal helper mixes – mostly the highest-priced items in the offer.50 $0. plus they have many lower cost items like refried beans which are often priced at less than $1.08 $3.89 Can Green Beans $1.50 - $2. canned vegetables and their entire line of Mexican food products. b.59 Baking Mix $3.39 $1.30 ($5. While the name brand canned vegetables are typically more expensive than the store brands.89 $3. Here's why: Item Cost Retail Price Savings With Doubled Coupons Rebate Amount On This Item Net Cost of Item After Rebate AND Coupons Net Cost of Item After Rebate Only (No Coupons) Cereal A $3.39 Frozen Waffle Sticks $3.09 $3.10 (55¢ coupon) $1.70 (35¢ coupon) $1.

but this one technique can generate $100 to $300 per year in savings: it's like getting your groceries FREE for 1 or 2 weeks out of the year. The manufacturers are counting on you NOT to make the effort. due to all of the paperwork you have to complete. the rebate was a good deal to begin with – by itself it saved you almost 26% on the groceries. $20 or $30 a month on groceries. But if you DO make the effort. But if you use the coupons in combination with the rebate.As you can see. you'll save over 45% on the same groceries! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 11 BIG IDEA 64: There’s no doubt about it: mail-in rebates are a real pain in the neck. It doesn't sound like much. you can save an extra $10. 79 .

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they can spend a total of $150 per week at the grocery store. Here's how this $100 per day is spent: Mortgage: 35% Utilities: 10% Home Maintenance: 5% Insurance / Health Care: 10% Clothing / Personal: 10% Auto: 5% Savings / Retirement: 5% Food / Entertainment: 20% TOTAL: 100% This family's budget for food and entertainment is $20 per day. or a total of $21. Assuming that the Jones family eats every breakfast and dinner at home. Your home budget has a MARGIN as well. The Jones family earns a salary of $36. We're talking about flour. This gives them a total spending allotment of $600 per month. for an even average take-home amount of $100 per day. (Note that this is DIFFERENT from the FEATURED ingredients or SPECIALTY items).500 per year after taxes. and 'brown bags' their lunches. spices. Restaurants must maintain their budgets and a high level of profit margin. – items they use each and every day. This is the primary reason that chefs look for the lowest-cost provider of the CORE ingredients they use in their restaurant. etc. This margin of profitability determines how much PROFIT the restaurant will make at the end of the day.Chapter 12: The Economics of Food Grocery Selections = Operating Margin In the restaurant business – as in any business – the difference between the COST OF THE INGREDIENTS and the SALE PRICE of the prepared food item is called the MARGIN. For an example. Learning how to control your margin can make a huge difference in how well your family lives. 81 . let's look at a fictitious family.43 per day on meals. if they are to remain viable and profitable. dairy products.

Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin. This is why it is important to stretch your family budget as much as possible.43 per day. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. If the restaurant doesn't show a profit. every item that you pay full price for will DETRACT from your operating margin. month after month. or whether they will need to take money away from the other budgeted items to meet their grocery bill. the owner doesn't get a paycheck. the MARGIN determines whether the establishment will show a profit at the end of the month or not. month after month. Often. 82 . Big Idea Recap – Chapter 12 BIG IDEA 65: Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates his or her kitchen: as a business. if the food expenditure exceeds the budgeted 20%. Operate your home kitchen the same way that a professional chef operates their kitchen: as a business. the family must do without new clothing. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within or below your budgetary margin consistently. At the Jones household. The success of your family's annual budget depends on staying within – or below – your budgetary margin consistently. So let's take a look at smart choices you can make to get the absolute most out of your grocery dollar. reduce or eliminate their savings. or reduce in one of the other areas. Every item that you can buy for less will IMPROVE your operating margin.The MARGIN for the Jones family is whether they can actually feed their family on $21. the family budget will fail and the family will eventually declare bankruptcy or lean on parents or other relatives to bail them out financially. cancel their insurance. the business will fail. If the family's total expenditure consistently outstrips their income. At a restaurant. the area that must give way is the owner's paycheck. and why the choices you make at the grocery store CAN and WILL impact all areas of your family's life. If the restaurant consistently fails to create a margin of profit.

household supplies and personal care items. Most of us need or justifiably want the conveniences of prepared foods to reduce our time in the kitchen. Another thing I'm not advocating is a change in your diet. If you want to change your diet.Chapter 13: Smart Grocery Choices & Core Ingredients Let me start by saying that I'm not preaching here. You may be in the habit of buying the smallest item because you want the least-expensive item. If you typically buy a small jar of peanut butter every two weeks. What I hope to do here is give you some ideas on how to enjoy the foods you want to eat. This same rule of thumb applies to hundreds of everyday grocery items. and put a plan in place. but by selecting the smallest package you are probably paying more per ounce than if you bought the bigger package. milk and a few ingredients and grow everything else in your backyard. you know. some eggs. but only costs about 40% to 50% more. get some professional advice. totally apart from using coupons or obtaining store discounts. I'm not a doctor. as long as you and your family can consume them before they expire or lose their freshness. I don't advocate going 'back to your roots' and only buying raw materials. and/or kids in school. Mom needs a break too. let alone tackle a return to an allnatural lifestyle. That's all. The big jar typically contains twice as much. consider buying the big jar every 4 weeks. There are three major ways to cut your grocery bill. go see your doctor. Get larger sizes of items. a social life. That's nice if your cup of tea is cooking everything from scratch and tending a garden for two or three hours a day. and frankly I don't care what foods you choose to buy or eat. Many writers have covered that territory. telling you that you only need to buy a sack of flour. That approach simply doesn't work if you have a fulltime job. It doesn't fit too well with modern life. Most of us are lucky to find a halfhour to ourselves every other day. 83 . that's fine. while paying less for them. let's leave it at that. They are: • BUY BIG.

Sweet Potatoes. A bag of this mixture probably costs about $5. invest in additional units of items when they are at their lowest cost. (unless you have teenagers and a 5 lb. A frozen dinner mixture may contain bite-size nuggets of chicken. How? Let's look at the core ingredients. pork. even if you won't need them for six months or a year. and cooking the same meal from scratch could cost you less than half this much. but for most families they are already a core part of their diet – often without consciously selecting them: • Potatoes • Onions • Carrots • Tomatoes • Mixed Vegetables – Seasonal • Rice • Pasta • Meats: chicken. Bulgar Wheat. • BUY BASIC. Stock up when items are on sale. Currently. Again. rather than preassembled mixtures of core ingredients. Grits. bag of food is an appetizer…) That's not too bad. 84 .00. There is a middle ground between buying a prepared baking mixture and growing your own wheat.• MAKE TIMELY BUYS.00 to $6. rice and sauce. But it's not the best you can do price-wise. Find the logical middle ground that works for you and your schedule. plus chopped broccoli. and will sort of feed the average four-person family adequately. as long as the items are not highly perishable or they have a fairly decent shelf life. Let's use a frozen all-in-one dinner mix as an example. beef. As long as you will eventually consume the item. • Alternative Core Ingredients: Tofu. you may not use any of the following core ingredients in your food selections. Put two or three of the item on your back shelf. Buy the core ingredients of recipes. But buy the primary ingredients of recipes rather than the put-together final products. stock up & save. if it's available now at half the cost or below. Select according to your taste & dietary preferences. when you consider the cost of eating the same type of meal at a restaurant. etc.

chopped . But just be aware that you are paying a price for this convenience. and that's what dinnertime is all about.The pre-blended mixture contains roughly the following ingredients: . either.One or two garlic cloves. and you can save a lot of time and effort by using them. because they were cooked a few months ago and frozen. It's sustenance. And. except there's usually not as much chicken as you would like. But in combination with all of the other elements that go into a meal.Two or three cups of chopped. The vast majority of these pre-mixed food items are very high in quality. the fresh vegetables can actually be higher. The broccoli and carrots are kind of mushy.Two or three cups of cooked rice . The cost difference between frozen / boxed / dehydrated vegetables and fresh vegetables is not always huge. am I saying that ALL pre-mixed dinners or boxes of pre-cooked side dishes are bad? NO – of course not! The food companies are not bad people. the garlic isn't really zingy.One or two cooked carrots.Various preservatives and chemicals (sorry. because it was chopped. In some cases. 85 . and it's ready to serve. cooked broccoli . but nothing to rave about. isn't it? PERISH THE THOUGHT! Dinnertime should be about enjoying your food.One to one and a half chicken breasts cut in pieces. Are All Mixes Bad? Of Course Not! Now. starting from core ingredients will almost always be less expensive. So overall. sliced . doesn't it? You dump the contents of the bag into a saucepan. color and smell of a fresh-cooked meal – that's the difference between simply eating and eating well.1/4 cup of soy sauce .Various spices in minute amounts . The quality of the food is reasonably acceptable. cooked and frozen a long time ago. savoring the taste. . cook on low for about 10 minutes. and they're not idiots. it's an okay meal. had to mention this…) Sounds like a lot.

you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. So no – it's NOT bad stuff. Pre-packaged meals can cost up to 5 times as much as the same meal prepared from scratch. so it's just about the same thing YOU would make. And in many cases. But for everyone / everything else. and you have a coupon for them. If you are cooking for one. so they'll be on hand when you need them. and they can save you a lot of time. buying small makes sense. you can have fresh stuffing in about 5 or 10 minutes. resulting in better quality for less money. many. it's made of bread and spices. it's actually pretty darned good stuff! The moral of this story: many. you can reduce your total cost of food. and you can easily cut your food costs in HALF. when you buy pre-mixed / preseasoned / prepared meals. Stock up on them when the pricing is right. or the items you buy are very perishable. But with a box of ready-to-go stuffing mix. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 13 BIG IDEA 66: By using core ingredients to prepare your family's meals. 86 . Is it bad stuff? Well. BIG IDEA 67: Generally speaking. For example. IF you were starting from scratch. or you eat like a church mouse. many of these pre-mixed food products are very good.Variety – and Pre-Mixed Foods – Can Be A GOOD Thing! Some pre-mixed or prepared foods allow you to enjoy items you would rarely cook from scratch – if ever. All I'm suggesting here is that you buy them when they're on sale. the more you will lower your cost of food. Develop a set of time-saving recipes that use core ingredients. you can go back to the core ingredients and replicate these mixes with fresh ingredients. WHICH you wouldn't ever do. the bigger the package. would you make fresh stuffing if you had to start with the bread and spices and mix it all yourself? Probably not. the smaller the package – the greater the cost per ounce / pound. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation. the lower the cost per serving. Just remember this: in most cases.

87 . the more you will lower your cost of food. but you'll be saving a lot of cash down the road. BIG IDEA 69: Whenever you buy pre-mixed / pre-seasoned / prepared meals. You'll be investing a little cash now. The more you get back to basics in your meal preparation.BIG IDEA 68: When you see a bargain. grab it. If it's a non-perishable item. you are paying a HUGE mark-up for the service. grab 2 or 3 and stash them away for future use.

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Of course. but overall it's incredibly packed with flavor – right out of the ground. Example: a tomato. whip them. Cook it until tender. 89 . simple is best: the basic flavor of the core ingredients is pure. It rarely needs any improvement. Don't get me started.001 things with a potato. With the majority of foods. fry them. you might add a little butter or tiny touch of brown sugar. They are wonderfully complex yet simple at the same time. Add a touch of seasoning and they're on just about everyone's top-10 list. But the next time you are in your favorite restaurant. Tomatoes are so flavorpacked. and it's wonderful on the palate. Real Cooking Let me be frank here: cooking is actually very. they're tremendous in a million different ways. of course. there are exceptions to every rule. Cook them. and then count the dishes that have multiple core ingredients.Chapter 14: Real Food. You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. sauté them – you can do a 1. many Irish dishes revolve around potatoes. and delicious. many Chinese and Japanese dishes revolve around rice. but you can't improve on the pure nutrition that is built into the spud. simple. Granted. Yes. A little enhancement can make a world of difference. You will be amazed at how simple the vast majority of dishes really are. Many Italian dishes revolve around pasta. Example: a potato. scan down the menu and count the dishes that are based on one core ingredient. The greatest chefs in the world all cook the same way: they start with a core ingredient at the base and then they add something to it to make it unique. many middleeastern dishes revolve around grains. some dishes are more elaborate and require multiple base items. It's hard to top perfection. very simple. but deep down basic food is pretty darn good to begin with! Example: a carrot. and many Indian and southern Asian dishes revolve around a vegetable base. A few minor enhancements can do wonders.

etc. TACOS. too!) They always show how the preparation takes just a minute or two. Serve with your choice of toppings (cheese. Add a few scoops of canned chunky chili. Think of how many commercials you've seen where the wife heats up a ready-to-eat dish of pre-mixed stuff. Serve with salsa. THIS IS BRAINWASHING. Top with cheese (I like mozzarella on mine). PEOPLE! They are conditioning you to think that COOKING = HARD WORK and PAIN. Microwave it for 5 to 7 minutes. Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. 90 . Shake some sea salt on the outside. We're all too busy these days to even think about cooking. (And by the way. Take a taco shell out of the package. you have a valid point.Okay. cooking from scratch (or at least using a few core ingredients) can be JUST AS EASY. To make my point. Poke holes in it with a fork. Wash it off. I know you're thinking: "I'm too busy to cook. BUYING THEIR MIX = SIMPLICITY and COMFORT. The food industry WANTS you to think that cooking is difficult. bacon bits. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. let alone crack open the recipe book. I don't have time to cook". If people knew how easy it is to cook from scratch – at a fraction of the price of buying their prepackaged meals – they wouldn't make as much money. too. BAKED POTATO. And yes. I want to change the way you think about cooking. Take a potato. Microwave for 1 to 2 minutes. here are five dinners you can cook in LESS THAN FIVE MINUTES (and actually less than 1 minute if you're fast…) 1. and the end results are always perfect. sour cream or plain yogurt. why is it always the WIFE? We husbands cook. butter or butter substitute. and the family goes wild with glee at the wonderful taste and nutrition. I have to use premade mixes. if you approach it correctly. In reality. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life. you'll discover that it simply doesn’t have to be that difficult. If you can change your mindset about core ingredients and what it MEANS to cook. so you'll buy their pre-cooked meals.) 2.

The secret to innovative. My kids love this one: boil up a box of noodles – any kind – such as ziti. so it's very cheap as well. toss in the noodles. most restaurant menu items are just a core ingredient with enhancements.3. and heat on low for 5 minutes. whatever. 91 . exciting cooking is to vary the sauces. and it's very tasty. It's fast. You heat 2 cups of water until boiling. seasonings and styles of the additional items you add to your core ingredients. and you've got a spicy oriental soup that makes a very enjoyable dinner. chop up a tomato. ALFREDO A LA QUICKIE. add a little water. but you only have to stir them once in a while.grocerysavings. elbow. There are hundreds of these types of recipes out there. and chop in a few chunks of butter (or butter substitute if you're watching your cholesterol. You know what these are. and you've got a quick cheesy meal. BUT – if you buy a bag of frozen Chinese vegetables and a bag of pre-cooked peeled shrimp. So vary your enhancements. add some pepper and salt. When they're done. (For convenience. then toss on top of the rice and add a little soy sauce. Not too exciting. You'll get new ones every week by email if you subscribe to my membership site located at www. As I mentioned above. put into a bowl. and add that.) Sauté these with a little hot pepper oil until tender. put 2 cups of the rice in a pot. you can also buy a bag of frozen veggies and use just a tiny portion. it takes 10 to 15 minutes to cook. To top it. drain. it will be good as new. bowties. and they're ready in 3 minutes. RICE WITH VEGGIES. If you're constantly stretched for time. cook a pot of rice on Sunday and keep it in the fridge all week long. It's quick – it's tasty – and you'll think you ordered take out. RAMEN NOODLES. When you need to make a quick lunch or dinner. Feel free to share your favorites with friends. Toss them into the finished soup. 5.) Shake some powdered parmesan or romano cheese on top. maybe some squash and carrots. One bag will make about 5 or 6 dinners. 4. they're the little "6 for $1" packages of noodles. You could also sauté some meat or seafood if you'd like. you can sauté these in a frying pan with a little hot pepper oil while the noodles are cooking.

too. so you'll buy their over-priced pre-mixed dinners. BIG IDEA 71: The food industry wants to DISCOURAGE you from cooking. BIG IDEA 73: Cooking fast & delicious meals for yourself and your family should not be a chore. 92 . and you'll eat better. Plus. But first – you have to become an expert at cooking the core ingredients. Cooking can be one of the simplest things in your life.experiment. It's the key to seriously reducing your food budget. you'll be saving LOTS of money. if you approach it correctly. try new things. It's hard to top perfection. If you start building a list of quick. If it is. you can cut your food costs in half. healthier food every day. and you'll keep your menu vibrant and inviting. BIG IDEA 72: Wean yourself from the notion that cooking is difficult. you're doing it wrong! Do it right. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 14 BIG IDEA 70: You really don't have to do a lot of fancy cooking to make good food when you start with nature's finest. easy-to-cook recipes that use CORE INGREDIENTS and that your family enjoys.

One cup of rice. this chapter will be critical to your success in weaning yourself from pre-packaged meals. 93 . the rest of the cooking process is a breeze. and many just about do all the work for you. the local pharmacy sells appliances now. and they frequently give $5 and $10 rebates for buying them. the rest – pun fully intended – is gravy. What a novel idea!) Once you determine how best to cook your core ingredients. If you're cooking-challenged. nutritious dinner. two cups of water. They can save you huge amounts of time in the kitchen. Easy. If you can really get the hang of cooking core ingredients. We are so lucky today to have time-saving appliances available for every conceivable kitchen task.) • If you can peel & boil potatoes. (HINT: boil a pot of water. (HINT: nature made this recipe easy. easy to remember. Once you've got your own system down. cook 'em a few minutes more. So if you want to take control of your food budget and really cut your dependency on packaged meals. you can make Italian food with your hands tied. This doesn't have to be expensive. It's always double the water for a single unit of rice.) • If you can learn to boil noodles. Stir it once in a while. • If you can learn to make rice. you can add countless varieties of toppings for a healthy. Investing in a few basic items could really make your life easier. Get familiar with cooking core ingredients from scratch.Chapter 15: A System for Cooking = A System for Savings How to Develop a System for Cooking Core Ingredients. Set your timer to 10 minutes. I would suggest that you take an inventory of your appliances. If they're still too hard at 10 minutes. the rest is a cakewalk. (Have you seen those 'potato martinis' they serve in the fanciest restaurants? They're nothing more than mashed potatoes topped with sautéed meats and vegetables. GOOD APPLIANCES CAN HELP. Heck. you've got the basic foundation for about half a gazillion Chinese recipes.

water and salt / pepper in the pot. these scare the daylights out of most people. scallions. They shouldn't – because a pressure cooker can cut your cooking time by 50% or more – and they lock all the nutrients into your food. One of the easiest things to cook is rice – and one of the best time-savers is to get a rice cooker. Peel an onion. It will make an ordinary meal extraordinary. cool for 30 minutes. press the "chop" button. especially if you’ve got small kids to tend to. Buy a huge bag. and it's chopped in about 5 seconds. garlic. stir it or tend to it in any way. They're great for stews (cook for 15 minutes. It will be the best chicken soup 94 . But hey. some of you nutritional purists will shudder at some of these suggestions. plug it in. And let me share a secret that every fine Italian cook will tell you: buy a block of hard cheese and grate it in your mini-processor just before serving over your pasta. and if the family won't eat what we cook – what good is it? So cook what your family loves. PRESSURE COOKER. so there's not a lot of clean-up. Now. You don't need to watch it. kids just love rice. and in 15 minutes or so your rice is done perfectly.Listed below are some items that I couldn't live without. They’re also ideal for grating hard cheeses. squash – basically any hard vegetable. and your meat will fall off the fork. and they'll love you back all the more. You dump your ingredients in. Plus. Plus. a pressure cooker can make even the cheapest cuts of meat tender. and save. cut it into 4 pieces and drop it in the processor. And the bowl. And as a bonus – rice is still very reasonably priced. turn off the heat and let it sit for 30 minutes. those of us on the front-line of the family-feeding war need all the help we can get. A good processor will cut your cooking time by half. The same thing goes for carrots. once the pressure weight is rocking cook it for 20 minutes. vegetables. It’s the ideal cooking helper. For some reason.) They make excellent chicken soup (put a chicken. blades & cover all go right into the dishwasher. It's our job to keep the family happy. FOOD PROCESSOR (or mini-processor if you're single or you've got a small family). RICE COOKER.

It's not THAT bad for you from time to time… I bought a family-sized fryer at the drug store for $20 after rebate. Now. Cool the cooker immediately and remove the chops. tender and ready-to-eat. turn up the heat. They'll be fully-cooked. It's really a great appliance. Make a pot of Japanese noodles – soba noodles are available in many import shops. salt & pepper for flavor) for about 3 minutes on each side.) They can cut an hour or more out of the cooking time required for meats such as pork chops. Yes. what do you order when you're in a restaurant? Being able to cook restaurant-quality fried foods in your household can significantly reduce your food budget. The only difference: you've saved at least an hour of cooking time! They're ideal for cutting the time required to cook vegetables (cooks in 1 to 5 minutes after the pressure weight starts rocking. Mix up some tempura batter. cauliflower. try this. and brown in the broiler for about 3 minutes. carrots – and get some fresh peeled shrimp. Heat up some chicken broth for the soup. and your veggies are ready to serve. You just have to get over the 'guilt' factor and admit that most people love fried foods. Close the pressure cooker. Serve over the soba noodles and soup and you've got a dynamic Japanese meal that the family will love. Add 3/4 cup water. I know people want to live "healthy" and avoid fried foods. DEEP've ever had.) Get over the fear. 95 . Yes. But what do the kids order every time you're in a restaurant? Heck. and deep fry the veggies and shrimp in the fryer. But admit your vice and face your fears. top with bread crumbs. Plus. it's a nutritional crime. cool the cooker immediately with cold water. and cook for about 10 minutes once the weight starts rocking. try pressure-cooking in your household and you'll be a convert for life. I like to remove them. Chop up some vegetables – broccoli. Just sear your chops in the pressure cooker in a little oil (adding garlic. it makes them look more appetizing and more like oven-baked chops. I can take a basic potato – probably costing about 25 cents or less – and create restaurant-quality fries in about 10 minutes. if you want to reduce the amount of fried foods you serve but still add the flavor and appeal of fried foods to your menu.

One of my favorites is hash brown potatoes. is to make've minimized the amount of fried foods you're serving. You see? A deep fryer is NOT the evil device you thought it was…! ELECTRIC GRIDDLE. it will help you switch to a "fresh cooked" diet rather than a "frozen / reheated" diet – which can save you big bucks on your groceries. hearty breakfast or side dish. cheaper – and more nutritious for your family. Oil your griddle lightly. of course.) Grate an onion as well. and the taste won’t even come close to that of the home-made recipe. The #1 use. The frozen hash browns in your grocer’s freezer will cost about 3 times that amount. 96 . Spread the mixture all across your griddle and cook on medium-high heat for 15 minutes. and you don’t skin your knuckles. Grate 3 or 4 potatoes in your food processor (SO much easier than grating by hand. The result is a flavorful. But it’s also ideal for dozens of other recipes as well. Mix it all together with salt & pepper. This appliance is indispensable in my household. Plus. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 15 BIG IDEA 74: Adding a few inexpensive appliances to your kitchen will make cooking easier. Cut into 8 squares and flip each square and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Total cost for 8 servings: about 15¢ a serving.

I'm too busy to shop. heat the glop and dish it up. – I'm too busy to shop. If your schedule is SO TIGHT that you absolutely could not find 5 minutes anywhere – and your life is literally on a stopwatch every minute of the day – you probably have a personal shopper and a personal chef. Now. – There's no time to cook. and the way you prepare your meals. I'm pretty sure you can find the five minutes! You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time it takes to heat up a pre-mixed meal. Plus.My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. You had enough time to buy the bag of premade stuff. . Consider some minor alterations to the ingredients you buy. add the glop. didn't you? Consider that you could buy a variety of core ingredients – many of which are also found in the freezer section – with just a few extra minutes of shopping time. Again.Chapter 16: Quick-Cooking: The Secret to Happier. you're going to find enough time to get out a pan. For everyone else. Then. The reward will be meals that can be much tastier and probably a lot healthier for you and your family. see if somewhere in your busy day you could find just 5 minutes to steal and re-apply to meal preparation. The moral of this story is this: you're already devoting a certain amount of time to meal preparation.There's no time to cook. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. . consider the alternative answers. . Healthier Meals Why do so few people cook fresh meals? Do you give any credibility to these common myths: . the recipes you use (or don't use). you'll probably find 20 or 30 minutes to eat the meal.I hate to cook. and you 97 .

– My family wouldn't know the difference anyway. You might be surprised on this one. because it's what they've always eaten.can save time. Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. which is nothing more than a filler and it's aptly named. they don't expect anything better. in the interest of saving time. you CAN learn to cook quick fast. though. I call this QUICK COOKING. It will make your meals extra special. add a few pennies worth of spices. and enjoy it a whole lot more. They eat what they're given. and if you do it right it won't take you a lot of extra time. This is a valid concern if you view cooking as a chore – which many people do. "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less. Look at the ingredients of the sauce: it's full of modified food starch. – I hate to cook. To avoid cooking. People eat bottled spaghetti sauce over pasta. and lower your food costs. enjoy better meals. and even the most die-hard mageirocophobiac (person with an intense fear of cooking) can become an efficient quick cooking expert and save money on food with a little patience. The reason many families are oblivious to the taste or quality of their food is that they've never experienced real cooking. It FILLS you up but is it good for you? You can buy a can of crushed tomatoes for less than the can of prepared sauce. in this case). Take it one step at a time. even if you find the recipe for boiling water too difficult. Don't you think that might be healthier than a ton of food starch and preservatives? YES! Do you think you might feel better by eating allnatural ingredients? YES! The proof is in the pudding (or pasta. many people simply DUMP bags or cans of glop into saucepans and heat it up. because it's all that they know. The one and only ingredient in the can of tomatoes is TOMATOES. simple meals that your family will love. But I'd like to propose an alternative to cooking. Your family WILL notice the difference and chances are they'll thank you for the improvement. and make a much more satisfying and healthy meal. What if you could just dump DIFFERENT bags or cans of stuff into the same pot. with almost no additional 98 . A lot of people choose DUMPING over COOKING.

To these they add a variety of topping or add-ins to create the final meal that you eat. turn on the stove.dry Potatoes .investment of your time. uncooked Bread flour Fresh meats. it doesn't matter if you're a meat-eater or a vegetarian. you can follow these tips and start cooking and eating better and cheaper. prepared meals with tiny portions Pre-baked biscuits. For the sake of this discussion. skinless chicken breasts Pasta . a vegan or a Venutian. how do we handle this "QUICK COOKING" without a lot of work and clean up? Let's look at a few core meal ingredients and how you can use them to create dozens of exciting. in the case of packaged foods). most cuisines – from the most basic to the most exotic – are variations on a theme.fresh potato wedges. frozen waffles Cans or jars of sauce. Tomatoes . poultry and fish Baking Mix Homemade sauces & gravies Fresh tortillas. cheese. Insider Secret: You're Already Buying Core Ingredients – But Not At Their Source! As previously mentioned. carrots. beans. Okay. Here are some of the core ingredients that you can buy at the source as fresh ingredients.uncooked Oatmeal . delicious recipes. frozen or tube biscuit dough. rip open a bag. or packets of dry gravy mix Frozen Mexican food dinners Vegetable soup in the can 99 . you can make TREMENDOUS changes in the cost of your meals as well as your family's satisfaction with them.canned Fresh broccoli. dry potato flakes. You're just being more selective in what you're putting into the pan. etc. any fresh vegetable Boneless. frozen Prepared spaghetti sauce Frozen or canned vegetables Tiny amounts of chicken found in prepared dinners Canned noodle dinners or pasta mix meals Tiny packets of partially-cooked dried oatmeal Baked loaves of bread Frozen. pull out a pan. You end up taking the same basic steps you do now: open a can. starts with a core ingredient or multiple core ingredients. The chef (or food manager.large drum. LOW-COST CORE INGREDIENT Rice . and how you're doing it. whatever you choose to cook. With just a few minutes of planning. and the high-priced alternatives they replace. canned beans "Closeout" fresh vegetables (items that the store must sell today or throw away) HIGH-PRICED PREPARED ITEM Pre-cooked rice in frozen dinners Frozen French fries. etc.

with no time to cook and no time to shop – is in three key steps: • AVAILABILITY of economical core ingredients. b. having them accessible.e. BIG IDEA 77: Even if you DETEST setting foot in the kitchen. Consider some simple steps in the way you approach cooking. The way you buy these items. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 16 BIG IDEA 75: Regardless of how little or how much time you have to shop. even if 100 .The secret to feeding your family well – with tasty and enticing food on a bargain-basement budget. what's cheapest / freshest). (more about this later). store. The way you plan your menus. To get a handle on how remarkably simple these three steps can be. • TECHNIQUE to quickly prepare and cook your meals using some core sauces. let's look at: a. and you can save time – enjoy better meals – and lower your food costs. train yourself to select CORE INGREDIENTS rather than pre-mixed meals. The best way for YOU to cook. then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. BIG IDEA 76: You can cook fresh meals from CORE INGREDIENTS in almost the same amount of time as heating up a pre-mixed meal. • FLEXIBILITY to mix and match the ingredients that you can buy economically. seasonings and styles that are appropriate for your family's eating habits. Think of food ingredients the way the chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. Determine what you have to work with first (i. and serve nutritious meals your family will actually eat. and you will save tremendous amounts of money. c.

then decide what you're going to build and how you're going to build it. BIG IDEA 79: Think of food ingredients the way the fine chefs do: as building blocks to fine meals. with almost no additional investment of your time. what's cheapest / freshest). BIG IDEA 78: "QUICK COOKING" will allow you to produce quality meals for less.e. 101 . simple meals that your family will love. you CAN learn to quick fast. Determine what you have to work with first ( find the recipe for boiling water too difficult.

102 .

because they are being harvested now – not six months ago. Nature came up with a very easy 103 . If shrimp is on sale. It may be the farmer's market. the fresh seafood market. If flounder is in abundance at the fish market and the price is lower than that of the other fish. Think of your own dining experiences. or the wholesale meat market. If the flounder is fresh and the other choices start out frozen. they can charge whatever they'd like for the items in the restaurant? Well. How to Cook Delicious. which do you think will taste better? CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. it's often because the item is in season – and hence is very fresh and is available in large quantities. technically they can. and they'll tell you that it depends on what is in season. That's because those items are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. Great chefs plan their menu when they go to the market.Chapter 17: Planning Your Menus How to choose value ingredients to make luxury meals. But that doesn't mean people will pay. The fastest way is with a pressure cooker or a rice cooker. Nutritious Meals With Your Core Items Let's review how a variety of core ingredients can be prepared. then enhanced with additional ingredients to create unique meals. RICE Rice can be made from 'scratch' very easily. tonight's special will be shrimp. Surely. Do you know how the world's greatest chefs decide their menus? Ask any chef what they will be cooking tonight. If the chef 's special sounds appealing and it costs a few dollars less than the other items. When an item is in abundance. You may wonder why the chefs use this method. don't you sometimes choose the special? Another reason to choose the chef 's special is abundance. tonight's special will be flounder.

and be ready to reheat them quickly for individual meals. then add your other ingredients. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. nothing could be simpler. Microwave for about 3 minutes. you travel a lot and can't leave fresh food in the refrigerator. cover and heat. soy sauce. To reheat. Some simple ideas are to add pre-cooked chicken. Add a splash of teriyaki. See? Cooking can be easy and fun! OATMEAL Oatmeal has the same simple recipe. you'll be amazed at how smooth and creamy it comes out! For one serving. Recipes. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. saffron or other spices. 2 parts water (or milk. and vegetables. beef. huh? You may want to add a dash of sea salt. Continue microwaving for 1 minute at a time until done. add to the rice mixture and flip after a minute or so. Sounds pretty easy. consider making a large pot of rice on Monday and using it in your recipes throughout the week.) Oatmeal is one of the only foods that actually cooks better in a microwave than it does on the stove. chicken bouillon.recipe for rice: 1 part rice. Try it. 2 parts water. mix 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1 cup of water or milk. lightly beat one or two eggs in a bowl (but not so much that bubbles form). try freezing your rice in small plastic containers. if you like it richer. Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. in a matter of minutes. Just store the leftover rice in a plastic storage bowl. sashimi (imitation crab). 104 . Worcestershire sauce. straight from nature: 1 part oatmeal. There are countless ways to make tasty meals with rice. For egg fu yung. simply heat some oil in a frying pan then add your rice and cook until slightly browned.e. If your meals are more infrequent. barbecue sauce or any other ingredients you like. Let it steam for a few minutes. then stir and cover with a plate to prevent splashing. i. For fried rice. For families on the go. just add a little water. but it's usually best just to cook plain white rice. You can 'nuke' rice back to health in your microwave.

00 or $2. etc. consult a recipe book and you'll be amazed at the uses for potatoes. They're fat free. Then. just get a good cookbook (at a yard sale or thrift store. so only cook what you can use fairly soon. chopped scallions.POTATOES There are countless ways to cook with potatoes. by meal: Breakfast: Chop your cooked potatoes and fry them in butter to make tasty hash browns. of course…). Or. and tasty. Add a little cheese. especially at the start of a strenuous work day where you'll need extra energy. Lunch: Poke some holes in an unpeeled potato and microwave it for about 5 minutes. I suggest using the imitation butter spray and / or powdered and flavored 'butter buds' that are available today.. full of fiber. mashed. cooked broccoli. Families existed on potatoes during the potato famine in Ireland. and you've got a delicious baked potato that can serve as your main course. sour cream. Dinner: Serve them baked. for variety. hot sauce. bake. microwave or fry potatoes in many different ways. just peel and boil your potatoes until fully cooked. That works out to about 25 cents per potato – one of the cheapest. most nutritious foods in the grocery store. Again. to make a tasty meal. Potatoes are an excellent addition to a hearty breakfast. They'll only keep for a few days. bag. etc. These additives have 105 . store then in a plastic storage bowl until you need them. bacon bits. Recipes: Again. If you're careful about what you put on them. slice your potatoes and fry in butter to make home fries.. etc.50 for a 5-lb. boiled & quartered with butter or chicken broth. To prepare a base supply of potatoes early in the week. the possibilities for using potatoes in recipes are endless. Add cheese. Top with chili and cheese or canned meat to make a filling quick meal. and they learned many different recipes to add variety. Use them as a 'base' with stew or sautéed veggies on top. The thing to bear in mind is that you can often find potatoes on sale for $2. Here are a few ideas. they can be a healthy choice too. You can boil.

and can make a baked potato seem almost decadent even as this filling and flavorful meal actually helps you lose weight! A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. Chop them up and add them to an omelet or just eat a raw tomato with a little salt. Plus. more food volume. I know – you purists are saying you'd never eat a tomato out of a can. and many ethnic foods from around the world. In the summer. Slice them and add to a ham or turkey sandwich. cans of tomatoes are typically a lot cheaper 106 . fried green tomatoes are also a delicacy. Here are a few of my favorites: Breakfast. starches and fillers that are common in the jars of sauce that most people use. or you're frequently on the road and fresh tomatoes just go bad on the shelf. Recipes: Get a cookbook to see any of the thousands of possibilities for tomatoes. Dinner: One of the easiest and fastest ways to make spaghetti sauce is to use a can of chopped or whole tomatoes. They're easy to grow and relatively cheap to buy – especially the canned variety. TOMATOES Why single out tomatoes as an ingredient? I'm also singling them out because they're the staple ingredient in Italian cooking.almost no fat or calories. Ever had a sliced tomato on the plate with your bacon & eggs? They're delicious anyway but you can add either salt or sugar for even more flavor. Pour on top of cooked pasta and you have a great Italian dish. add the tomatoes and a little salt and pepper. You're eliminating all of the additives. The Irish knew this centuries ago. and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. vegetarian cooking. nothing is better than a fresh-picked tomato! Lunch. Yes. fast alternative to fresh tomatoes – especially when you don't have time to shop. I like to sauté a little chopped garlic in olive oil. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. Try a home-made Bacon Lettuce Tomato sandwich (BLT). In the south. But for busy people they can be an excellent.

and many of these small-batch tomatoes – while not commercially feasible to grow – are loaded in flavor. tastiest items you can buy in a store. fast cook as described above. almost every vegetable out there… Buy whatever veggies are on sale. So many people would rather rip open a bag of frozen broccoli than deal with stalks of fresh broccoli – presumably because they 'want to save time'. beets. VEGETABLES Fresh veggies are probably the healthiest.than the jars of sauce. the lighter the seasoning the better. They’re one of nature’s best sources of lycopene. carrots. buy them. and your family will begin to eat healthier. potatoes. To quote Rodney Dangerfield. You can make hundreds of recipes using tomatoes as your base. add a little water. strap a rubber band around the dish. "Man – who don't like spaghetti?" Tomatoes are packed with tons of nutrients and they have great natural flavor. Another tip: if you’re ever at a farmer’s market and you find heirloom tomatoes. unique taste and nutrients. and other serious diseases. feel better. then cook on high for about 4 or 5 minutes. Heirloom tomatoes are grown from seeds that are not currently in massproduction. Here are some tips to win over the anti-veggie contingent in your household: 107 . The total time expenditure is about the same but buy the broccoli on sale. and enjoy meals more. and you'll probably pay less. heart disease. the more taste it will have. I find that the less you cook tomatoes the better. put it in a glass or Pyrex dish. You'll have perfectly steamed fresh broccoli that I GUARANTEE you will taste ten times better than the frozen stuff. cover with plastic wrap. There are hundreds if not thousands of varieties of tomatoes available. put the dish in a microwave. a powerful antioxidant that may help your body’s natural defenses prevent cancer. and the sooner you cook the tomato after picking from the vine. Do you know the easiest way to cook fresh broccoli? Wash it off. And guess what: this same approach works for asparagus. They're also probably one of the most misunderstood of foods.

buy some of the dried bacon bits to sprinkle on as well. You won't be weighed down with all of the fat of sour cream and butter but the potato will taste great. .Tip 1: if the bacon bits are too hard on your teeth. but if you have kids you know that they go absolutely crazy for them and they're a big hit at birthday parties). Mother Nature put an immense amount of flavor and subtle tastes into veggies to begin with. Okay. While most of their spices are about 95% salt. . Normally. as are the chocolate and rainbow ice-cream sprinkles. (Yes. whereas the name-brand items can be $2-$3 at the grocery store. nuke them in a small dish with a little water. back to veggies… • Buy close-out veggies when they are available at your store and make a healthy soup or stew out of them. but this will add useless calories and fat – especially the bad 'trans fats' – with little taste benefit. Of course. One major national drug store chain frequently issues coupons for spices at 3/$1. 108 . Even if you've avoided these low-fat products because they don't taste as good or work as well as butter on sandwiches or toast. especially when they're 3/$1. try the powdered butter substitute found in the spice section of your grocery. This is the 'zero calorie' spray that you find in the butter section. with some water and simple spices. you can always use regular butter or margarine.Tip 3: Look for coupons for the spices in your Sunday paper. I know the sprinkles are 100% refined sugar. .• Spray some fat-free butter on the veggies before you nuke them. • Use plain yogurt and butter spray on baked potatoes.Wash / peel / chop the veggies. (Hint: less is more when it comes to spicing up a veggie dish. as appropriate. If you're a bacon lover. you really don't have to add a lot more for most dishes). try them on veggies and you will be pleasantly surprised. they're only 99¢ at the drug store. If you don't like this. . The recipe is extremely simple: .Tip 2: look for these in the discount spice rack at your neighborhood drug store. the bacon bits are a bargain.Put into a big pot.

consider making a big pot of soup or stew and serving it all week long. or it will turn to lumps and clumps of dough and powder. sour cream. you can feed your family like royalty for less than $5 – and often enjoy 2 or 3 meals out of it. Example: make some 'roux' in the pot before you start cooking the veggies or veggie / meat combo.Serve and enjoy. If you happen to find a LOT of veggies on sale. simply pop the giant ice cube of soup into a pot and heat slowly for 10 or 15 minutes. • For a little European flair. etc.Cook for about a half hour (or about 5 minutes if using a pressure cooker. or freezing some for later. To thicken. add some white or red wine to the dish. drizzle the mixture into the broth very slowly and keep stirring or the flour mixture can still turn into dough. If you have a breadmaker machine and make a loaf of homemade bread for about 50¢. add fresh or canned tomatoes prior to cooking.) .) • For meat dishes. Of course. mix a little flour or corn starch with water in a cup. then add some flour and spices to form a paste. Frozen soup or stew will keep for months. it just looks better when it's pre-seared. Also. and in most cases that is all you'll find available. add a little milk. The best time to do this is before you cook the food. You can freeze soup in leftover plastic containers from yogurt. The meat can cook along with the veggies (allow extra time). A good recipe is to sauté some onions in butter until soft. sour cream or plain yogurt near the end of the cooking cycle. you can buy full-price fresh veggies.. SLOWLY add 109 . To reheat. to boot! • For a red sauce / French-style dish. (Hint: do not add the flour directly to the mix. Be sure all of the flour is dissolved into solution BEFORE you add the mixture to the broth. pork or lamb. margarine. But there is a special reward in making a giant pot of delectable fresh vegetable soup for $2 or $3. it's advisable to pre-sear the meat in a little olive or vegetable oil first. • For a cream sauce. and stir the mixture into the broth slowly. and taste just as good – and sometimes better – than the first time around. but if you have cubed beef.

you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. salt and a little baking powder. You can make excellent fresh noodles using nothing more than flour and salt. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family is endless. The same amount by weight of grated cheese will often be $1. just prior to serving. • For a totally mind-blowing culinary sensation. milk or yogurt to make a cream sauce out of your broth. You'll find that you can make some GREAT international dishes in no time at all if you learn a few basics such as this. • To stretch your soup / stew. Many Hungarian dishes such as goulash and Chicken Paprikash follow this process. cook some noodles separately and serve the soup over the noodles. water. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. I'll find the small blocks of cheese on sale for about $1. DAIRY Dairy is one area in which it can be difficult to cut costs – difficult but not impossible. Here are some tools and techniques: Cheese: Buy blocks of cheese and grate them at home.99 or more – literally double the price! Granted. and make excellent dumplings right in the soup. or just buy pre-made noodles if you're short of time.your wine to de-glaze the pan (all this means is that you loosen the sticky bits off the bottom of the pan and scrape everything into a consistent sauce). This roux / wine combination will thicken your sauce and add some very intricate and interesting flavors. rather than buying pre-grated cheese.00. There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked in hundreds of different ways. if 110 . 'Recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. Often. You can also make a paste out of flour. and are among the tastiest meals you will ever eat. and excite your family's taste buds. make a roux as described above and then when the dish is complete add sour cream. Consult any good cookbook to find out which spices to use with which veggies or veggie / meat combination.

That is why I believe you should make every effort to get a food processor as soon as you can afford one – or get yours out of the attic and actually start using it. MEATS Most people avoid the lower-price cuts of meat. Do the higher-price brands come from better breeds of cows? I don't think so. hand-grating a full block of cheese will take a lot of effort. How long does it take to grate cheese? It takes about 10 seconds. Colby. milk freezes and thaws out just fine… You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. Prices these days can change from week to week. you've wasted almost as much money as it would take you to buy a food processor and grate it at home. but many of the lesser-priced cuts can be turned 111 . Another thing that amazes me at the store is how size-specific people have become. all parts of a chicken come from a chicken. Sharp Cheddar or anything you'd like. Another advantage of grating your own cheese is that you're not limited to American. Most people grab the gallon container out of habit. Buy a half-gallon or gallon. using a food processor with a grater blade. Keep an open mind – and an open eye – when you're shopping for milk. But here's a secret: all beef comes from a cow. And for you singles out there: never buy a pint of milk. If you buy one bag of grated cheese per week for a full year. and freeze what you don't need in the short-run. because they want their family to enjoy the finest quality. all the cuts are different and some cook up better than others. while a full gallon container will be priced at $2. all pork comes from a pig. People: two halves DO make a whole when it comes to milk. Sure. and you can really save. Always look for the lowest price brand when shopping.79. As long as you have a method of storing these items. Cheddar or Mozzarella. Milk: It's funny how milk prices can vary so dramatically by brand. Swiss.00 don't have a food processor at home. you store the cheese in plastic container for future use. Then. Yes. you can buy them while they are on sale. you can grate Monterrey Jack. you're paying about a 150% markup over the larger sizes. so get the bargains whenever you can. My local store regularly puts half gallons of milk on sale for $1.

breasts with wings attached. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. if you're willing to rebag them. just look at the cost per pound of each variety. Bone-in Chicken Sections. etc. you can buy packages of fresh breasts on sale. 112 . The higher up this chain you buy.Skinless / fresh Pre-Seasoned Breasts or Tenderloins Understand the 'preparation chain' of the food you buy. because they are there when you need them and they're easy to cook. with all drumsticks. enjoyable meals. including drumsticks. etc. It's messy. flavorful. and it's not particularly easy unless you learn how to do it. the less you will pay. thigh sections. the higher the price you pay. But the difference in cost can be significant. From lowest to highest price. Chicken To fully understand how the different cuts and packaging combinations of chicken affect price. but this is simply not practical for many people. What I DO recommend is staying as high up this list as possible. here's what you're likely to find: Whole Chickens or 'fryers' Half or Quartered Chickens Specific-Section Packs. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. because you're paying a huge mark up for a few pennies' worth of spices. it takes time. It would be easy to preach that you should always buy whole chickens and cut them up as needed.Skinless / frozen Boneless Breasts . given the amount of time you can devote to cooking. Boneless Breasts . It's all in the cooking process. Or.into excellent. all wings. the lower down the chain you buy. and freeze them individually for one-at-a-time use later.Skin on Boneless Breasts . I also recommend that you NEVER buy pre-seasoned meats. Often. A relatively inexpensive and handy choice is skinless / frozen breasts. all bonein breast sections.

the slower it needs to be cooked. You'll also get great results if you cook it all day in a crockpot. and look for the best value you can. potatoes that I have cooked separately. onions. and it will please a huge. Remove the roast and put the spacer in your pressure cooker. you should definitely consider buying one – especially if you often find yourself short of time to cook. peeled vegetables such as potatoes. celery. This is a little metal plate that keeps the food away from the direct heat. etc. Use whatever is in season and/or on sale. I simply cook two or three chicken breasts in the pressure cooker. My favorite way to cook lesser cuts of beef is in a pressure cooker. 3. Put this all into a casserole dish and top with a simple piecrust (takes just a minute to make with flour. Beef There are many different cuts of beef. Heat a little oil in the pressure cooker. Just about any cut of beef will come out tender and juicy if you slow cook it for about 3 hours at 250 degrees in the oven. and many ways to make tasty enjoyable meals using the lesser-priced cuts. and then I thicken the remaining liquid with a little milk and some flour and water paste to make a cream sauce. based on how much cooking time and work you're willing to put in. just buy what you prefer. Perhaps the best rule of thumb with non-ground cuts of beef is this: the cheaper the cut. salt and shortening). I add some carrots. you can cook a delicious pot roast in less than 1 hour's time – start to finish. Try that in an oven – you can't do it! Here's the recipe: 1. For example. and bake for about 15 minutes. so there is no great secret to buying individual cuts. Start to finish takes about 30 to 45 minutes. If you don't have a pressure cooker. which you like.Chicken can be cooked in a multitude of ways. and sear your roast on all sides for a minute or two. You can add a can of tomatoes if you 113 . carrots. and surround with cleaned. hungry crowd. With a pressure cooker. Replace the roast. I make a casserole-sized chicken potpie for fraction of the cost of buying a store-made pie. onions. it comes with your pressure cooker. 2.

Turn the heat off. If you want to serve your family hot. I like to add chopped garlic. try it and see! You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. which will be very evident when you cook it. You can cook ANY type of meat in a pressure cooker this way. If you do buy cheaper ground beef. The cheaper ground beef contains the most fat. They simply can't be beat as a kitchen helper. But they can make a world of difference in the tenderness of your beef. 4. salt and pepper. This way it will tenderize better. let the pot sit for an hour or longer. I would recommend cutting the meat into smaller chunks prior to cooking. The new types of tenderizer are NOT MSG-based. let the pressure go down naturally. and you will have an incredibly tender roast. guess where it will be going? You may find that the costlier ground beef will yield bigger burgers with less fat. The longer you let the pot sit. 7. If you can. so there's no need to worry about your health. If you are planning to cook and serve your roast immediately. 6. But remember – the value you thought you were getting will be going to waste when you drain away all the fat. Regarding chopped or ground beef. but leave the cooker on the burner. or cut up some fresh tomatoes. And if you don't drain away all the fat. a red sauce. and it will always come out great. Close the cooker and heat until the weight starts to rock. so they're actually a better buy in the long run… Another way to tenderize cheaper cuts of beef is with meat tenderizer. Add about 2 cups of water. drain it well after cooking. tasty home-cooked meals but find yourself challenged for time. Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. use your best dietary judgment rather than price to make shopping choices. I would strongly urge you to invest in a pressure cooker. you can place the cooker under running cold water to reduce the pressure immediately. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as 114 . the more tender your beef will be. 8. If you can't wait.

And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. meats. Serve them over your choice of core ingredients (cooked pasta. the core element is chicken. You could buy pre-made sauces. MARINARA SAUCE. Then.the higher-priced cuts. pork or lamb. You can pour your cooled sauce into quart-sized heavy-duty plastic kitchen bags and freeze. For meat-eaters. or vegetables) and create gourmet meals that your family will love. you can actually prepare these sauces in large quantities and store them in the freezer. you can make a better sauce 115 . rice. etc. If you are typically stressed for time. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food can make meals new & exciting again. Or. If you family is bored with the food you cook. the secondary element is rice or other grains. most meals consist of a base and a sauce. and the variable element is the sauce or other seasoning additive. potatoes. wash and save your leftover yogurt cups or pudding cups and freeze the sauce in them. you can keep your food costs low. healthy and flavorful meals. you can work out your own system without buying expensive storage containers. For vegetarians. you can serve them over any core element to make delicious. commercial pasta sauces typically have a lot of starch fillers. and the variable element is the sauce or spices. the core element is one or more vegetables. SAUCES: The Miracle Budget Stretcher When you get right down to it. That is why it is important to develop as many different sauce or spice combinations as possible. very tasty sauces that you can make in minutes. Just put a sheet of plastic wrap or wax paper on top before freezing. noodles. With a little resourcefulness. Here are some very simple. As mentioned earlier. Variety is the spice of life. the secondary element is rice.). beef. if you're serving single portions. potatoes or other vegetables. Once you've mastered these sauces. simply re-heat in a saucepan or in the microwave to serve. but they tend to be expensive and full of fillers and artificial ingredients.

This will taste WAY better than those 'quick side' pouch meals. OLIVE OIL & GARLIC SAUCE. Add a little Italian seasoning or basil (optional. fry some chopped garlic in a little olive oil. If your family likes mushrooms. add a can of tomatoes (or fresh. For example. this will work every time. and when they're almost done. if available). stirring occasionally. I find that kids like it better without any spices). then serve over cooked pasta. The simplicity and powerful taste of this dish is amazing. MUSHROOM SAUCE. When the butter 116 . but margarine will do). It is said that Homer lived on this dish while writing The Iliad. it's high on the cholesterol and fat content. Yes. and heat for 15 to 30 minutes. This dish has been served for thousands of years – literally.that is 100% natural by buying diced or pureed tomatoes and adding a few spices to your liking. Heat in a saucepan until it thickens slightly and then add your core ingredients. and you've got a great presentation. Top with grated cheese. start on your sauce. start with a small carton of heavy cream. BROWNED BUTTER SAUCE. Top with chopped chives for color. you can make a great sauce by melting some butter in a saucepan (real butter is best for sauces. Sautee for a few minutes and then serve over your core ingredients. purists prefer chopping the garlic fresh. so you know it has to be good! Cook your noodles first. you can add a can of peas on some chopped ham. but if your goal is to impress. but it does take extra time…). Heat very briefly until garlic is barely cooked. This is known in Italy as "Aglio et Oglio" and it is a classic. To make a delicious marinara sauce. Serve over hot noodles and sprinkle on grated cheese. CREAM SAUCE. adding mushrooms and a sprinkling of garlic powder or chopped garlic. When they are transparent but not browned. Melt a stick of REAL butter (margarine will NOT work for this one) in a saucepan over medium high heat. Simply heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add chopped garlic (the jars of chopped garlic are easy and tasty. If you want a decadent meal that people will rave about. If you like. stirring constantly. sauté some chopped onions or chopped green peppers as well.

salt and half cup of oil (preferably extra-virgin olive oil). SOUR CREAM SAUCE. immediately take it off the stove. Nothing is lighter or cleaner than fresh lemon juice. ideal for special occasions. You can use Pesto to add zing to soups. Heat through. remove the seeds. This is an unusually pungent and tasty sauce. stirring constantly. Pecorino. Top with grated hard cheese. YOGURT SAUCE. LEMON JUICE. 1 cup shelled walnuts (optional). (Grating a fresh block of hard cheese just prior to serving will make your dish much more flavorful than if you use the 'green cardboard shaker' cheese. Parmesan. 2 to 4 cloves of garlic. Add 2/3 cup of whipping cream and cook until slightly thickened. Try sprinkling on some fresh ground black pepper for extra zest. I recommend getting a small electric chopper to save time – and save your knuckles. stews and other recipes. a half cup of fresh parsley leaves. Simply add some parsley.starts to burn. WHITE MUSHROOM SAUCE. Add a half cup grated Italian cheese and process a few minutes longer until smooth. You can use any really hard cheese such as Asiago. and pour it over your noodles. Here's a quick and easy sauce 117 . but do not boil. 2/3 cup sour cream and 1 teaspoon of salt. it really brings out the flavor of vegetables. Reduce heat to low. Start with 3 to 4 cups of basil leaves. chopped chives and tarragon to plain yogurt. or serve it on top of your core ingredients as the main sauce. add 2 teaspoons white vinegar. etc. Melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a saucepan. and serve on top of your favorite core ingredients. PESTO. Add additional oil until it forms a smooth paste. stir and store. 1 tsp.) The flavor of this dish will overwhelm you. This one takes a little longer and a few more complex ingredients. add chopped cucumber (known as Raita in Indian cooking). add 1 cup finely chopped green onions until transparent (but not brown). For variety. A cool and refreshing alternative to oil-based sauces is a simple and clean yogurt sauce. Squeeze fresh lemons into a bowl. Puree in a food processor for a minute or two until smooth. This is an elegant sauce that turns any core ingredient into a gourmet treat.

ground red pepper. (I find that the fresh-ground peanut butter. and add salt & pepper to taste. ground coriander. minced very fine. then reheat prior to serving. 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley. from India). typically found in health-food stores. Stir in 1 cup of slivered or ground almonds. Add salt (course or sea-salt preferred) to taste. Add more water slowly until sauce is the right consistency. buy the all-natural jar of peanut butter. stirring constantly. but it's much better in the long run. Cook over low heat until the flavors are blended. Sautee 3 cups of finely chopped onions in 1 cup of olive oil (or clarified butter. it will be a welcome change of pace on your dinner table. In India. Slice 1 lb. chopped fresh ginger. Stir in 1 cup of heavy cream. Remove from heat and puree in a blender with 2 cups of plain yogurt and a half cup of water. is much better for cooking than the commercial brands. 1 tsp.that is sure to impress. 2 tsp. In a clutch. Fry until wilted and pale brown. and gradually stir in a half cup of water and a half cup of canned coconut milk. Pour back into sauce pan and cook until thickened. (Flavors blend best when sauce is cooled then reheated. SPICY PEANUT SAUCE. Add salt and pepper to taste. Heat a half cup of chunky peanut butter in a saucepan. or just as a side sauce to flavor up any meal. on medium heat. Cook for 10 min. This sauce is a bit exotic. Here's a decidedly elegant sauce you'll love as soon as you've tasted it. ALMOND CREAM SAUCE (Korma. Top with grated cheese. they serve it over chicken and lamb. 3 tsp. Here's an easy way to make this sauce quickly. served as a dipping sauce. ground cardamom. stirring constantly. Cook for 5 minutes.) Stir in 1 clove of garlic. but once you get a craving for it. vegetables or any core item combination. Remove from heat and cool at room temperature for 30 minutes or longer. but it's also ideal just by itself over rice or with vegetables. Remove from heat immediately and serve over pasta. fresh mushrooms (try an egg slicer). ground cumin and 1 to 1-1/2 ¸tsp. broiled or 118 . but that takes extra work) over medium heat. it will require stirring. stirring constantly. Add a dash of cayenne pepper. more people are discovering that spicy peanut sauce is great on barbecued meats. 2 tsp. Stir in a half cup white wine. ground fennel. 1 tsp.) Serve over barbecued. Up for something different? As Thai cooking grows in popularity. Sautee in a half cup of melted butter until golden.

To make hot oil. canola or any cooking oil you prefer). ginger. salt & pepper to taste. or more hot oil (see below). Here's one that you can make in advance and serve over just about any core ingredient to make a tasty change-of-pace dish. minced ginger root and 2 tbl. vegetable.) Slowly add in 3 tblsp. mix 1 tsp. HOT CHILI SAUCE. How do the Chinese make so many different dishes so quickly? The secret is their base sauces. In a small cup. if desired. you can make your own hot chili sauce in minutes.fried chicken. When using. half tsp. Simply mix the following in a saucepan: 3 tbl. cornstarch with a little water to form a liquid paste. If you are cheap like me. then store your cooled sauce in the refrigerator in a jar and heat in a saucepan prior to adding your core ingredients. Heat over medium heat for 5 minutes and serve over your favorite core ingredients. buy the inexpensive bottles of red chili flakes at the drug store or 'dollar' store. Add chopped garlic. Chinese black vinegar (or 1-1/2 tsp. a hlaf tsp. olive oil and beat 119 . or your choice of core ingredient. most people prefer no MSG). Soy sauce. sugar. name brand starts with a “D” and rhymes with turkey. Soy sauce. Add 1 tsp. bean sauce (found in Chinese grocery stores). 1 tbl. They work great. Drizzle slowly into sauce to thicken. Add a dash of MSG for flavor-enhancement. a half tsp. Sesame oil and 1 tsp. then salt. hot chili paste. and cost next to nothing! REMOULADE SAUCE. Here's another basic Chinese sauce that you can use to make a range of different menu items. Blend the tastes. add 1 tbs dry sherry and a half cup chicken broth. In a small jar. 1 tsp. 1 tbs. Mix 1 cup of mayonnaise with 1/8 cup Famous Sauce (available at your store. Garnish your dish with fresh cilantro. Start with 3 tbl. Worcestershire sauce). plus 1 cup or more of dry sherry to taste. Mix until blended. sugar. finely-chopped ginger. mix 3/4 cup ketchup. pepper and garlic powder to taste. warm water. use the oil only and not the peppers. CHINESE HOT SAUCE. If you like things on the hot side. (optional. The Cajuns in Louisiana use this sauce on all types of seafood and sandwiches. of sugar. 3 tbl. place a handful of dried red peppers in a jar and add oil (olive. CHINESE IMPERIAL SAUCE. 1 tbl.

lemon juice. These are but a few of the many. combine 3/4 cup Butter or margarine. Creole or 'poupon' mustard and then mix again. prepared horseradish. 2 tsp. mix 2 tablespoons flour with a little hot water until dissolved. This is also a Cajun recipe. 3 tbsp. Heat on low for 5 minutes until blended. because they are being harvested now – not 6 months ago. Louisiana hot sauce. Bring to a simmer. Whisk until blended. MEUNIERE SAUCE. ideal over seafood. ketchup. each of cayenne pepper. many sauce recipes you can find in your favorite cookbooks or on the Internet. In a small saucepan. 3 tsp. Bring to a simmer and then add 6 oz. the variety of sauces you can cook is unlimited. Blend in 2 tsp. white pepper and 1/8 tsp. 1/4 tsp. Melt a half stick butter in a saucepan. and cooks very quickly. Add 3 tsp. Add salt if desired. 1 tblsp. a dash of hot pepper sauce. That's because the items that are in most abundant supply – and therefore the lowest in cost – are usually the freshest. 1 tsp. white pepper and a dash of Worcestershire sauce. As you can see. 1 tsp. dried oregano and dried thyme.vigorously. Pour over any core ingredient for a delightful meal. Add 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce. Add 1 can cream of mushroom soup and a half cup hot water. dry white wine. This recipe uses ingredients you probably have around the house. Add 1 tsp. 120 . beating after each ingredient. Add to your list of sauces. 1/4 tsp. minced parsley. This is a spicy sauce that some people can't live without. For sheer elegance. Simmer until thickened. nothing beats a complex cream sauce. ULTIMATE CREAM SAUCE. salt. Add a half cup hot milk and slowly blend in 1 pint sour cream. and you will find that you can create exciting and varied dishes in minutes – for meals that your family will savor and thank you for again and again! Big Idea Recap – Chapter 17 BIG IDEA 80: CHEAPEST can often mean BEST when it comes to food selections. Blend the flour mixture into the melted butter until thickened. chopped green onions. In a small cup. grated parmesan cheese and allow to melt.

Often. and excite your family's taste buds. But the difference in cost can be significant. so 'recipe boredom' does not have to be an issue in your household. A little extra preparation time and changing your cooking methods can make these cuts of meat just as delicious as the higher-priced cuts. you need to buy them while they are on sale. and each will be tasty and healthy for your family to eat. and in thousands of different combinations with different spices and sauces. you need a 'recipe mix' to shake things up. and store them in a way that you can reheat them quickly for individual meals. You can make hundreds of recipes around the tomato. If your family is bored with the food you cook. the difference in the preparation time of your meals is just a few short minutes. BIG IDEA 84: There is not a vegetable on this planet that cannot be cooked hundreds of different ways. BIG IDEA 88: Variety is the spice of life. Prices these days can change from week to week. more food volume. as long as you have a method of storing these items. the higher the price you will pay. BIG IDEA 85: You can stock up on some FRESH items just like you stock up on canned goods. and you'll eat fresh-cooked quality with every meal. BIG IDEA 87: You can lower your meat costs by purchasing cheaper cuts of meat and cooking them differently. The Irish knew this centuries ago. the less you will pay. the lower down the chain that you buy. The variety of dishes you can cook for your family are endless. BIG IDEA 82: A large bag of potatoes has more nutrition. That is why the Italians have been able to make thousands of individual recipes based off of this one vegetable. You'll cut vast amounts of time out of your cooking procedures. You don't need a 'box mix' to add variety to your diet. BIG IDEA 86: Understand the 'preparation chain' of the foods you buy.BIG IDEA 81: Make a large quantity of your core ingredients. or a few pennies worth of seasoning. and more value than just about any item in your grocery store. The higher up this chain that you buy. BIG IDEA 83: Tomatoes are packed with nutritional value and flavor. and that is why it is the mainstay of their diet. spice things up: simple variations on the sauces you use to top your food 121 . so get the bargains whenever you can.

122 .). potatoes. you can keep your food costs low. noodles.can make meals new & exciting again. And by using core ingredients as the base (rice. etc.

DRINKS • Brand-name soft drinks by the can are expensive. and replace it with clean & fresh water out of your own tap. because the kids get less 'wired' than with the sugar mixes. • Kids love slushees. Choose the storebrand. liter or 2-liter sizes of the brand-name stuff. buy the quart. And in many cases. and some pre-sweetened packet drink mix. You can also use this method to make summertime adult beverages – mix in a little fresh fruit and lemon or lime as well. Tea bags are cheap! You can make fresh-brewed tea in the microwave in minutes and then add ice cubes and sweetener to make your own tea for less. as it's known on the commodities market (Fresh Orange Juice Concentrate. We use the sugar-free varieties. but they cost $1.) What is at the core of any non-alcoholic drink? Water.Chapter 18: Miscellaneous Cost Cutters Here are some random tips for saving money at the grocery store. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. and serve in a glass with ice. Avoid buying drinks that have the water added at the factory. • Fruit juice is very healthy and delicious. some ice.00 or more at the burger joints. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. $2. but it can also be very expensive. or if you just don't like them. It can often be almost 50% less in cost – and some frozen brands taste just as good as fresh.50. Your money will go a lot farther! • Iced tea by the can or by the jar of mixture can be expensive. 123 . You can make them at home using a blender. Compare the cost of a half gallon of fresh orange juice to a can of frozen juice that makes a half gallon. and you can make a great daiquiri without paying for those high-priced frozen mixes. that container of 'fresh' juice is actually factoryblended out of "FOJC".

but lower your total food bill. Let’s say that your kids just absolutely love those chocolate-coated candies. fill it with your food. but they’re very expensive – and the kids will overeat them if you buy the large economy size. if it’s an item you buy every month. AVOID THESE PRODUCTS. here’s the advantage. they cost about half as much. Does it make a difference? Well. you can purchase one of those food-saver machines.COOKIES & SNACKS • The store brands of cookies are often as good if not better than the name brands. purchase can last for a full month. the ones that use a roll of plastic pouch material. because you're paying a wildly-inflated cost for the food inside those packets. 124 . you’ve spent $6 plus another $2 or $3 in plastic supplies. use your own plastic bags and dish out a small portion of these items from a larger bag. by weight. but instead of spending $20 or more on individual packets. than bagging the same portion yourself! PORTION CONTROL The marketing gurus at the food manufacturing companies have latched onto a great idea: package smaller amounts of their product in tiny packets. The net result: one 5 lb. With one of these machines. If you want to implement portion control. • If you give your kids snacks for school. You'll accomplish the same goal. and then the machine sucks out the air and seals the flap air-tight? They’re really not that expensive to purchase. because they haven’t had to make any sacrifice. melt one edge to seal it in the machine. If you are super-diligent about this. buy the large-size package and divvy the product out into small baggies yourself. Market it as 'healthier-size portions' and people will pay the mark-up and be glad for it. You know. you can individually package your own portions and lock them up in a storage closet. you cut off a section of pouch material. Those small pre-packs of snacks are about three to four times more expensive. and double or triple the cost of the item by weight. Now. you’re saving $133 or more per year – and best of all you’re keeping the little ones happy. Plus.

Many of these items such as window-washing solution. etc. • Read the 'Hints from Heloise' column in your newspaper. when purchased at the “oh so environmenally concious” earth-friendly store will cost you as much as $4. • Shop at the dollar stores. They claim that most commercial polishes and sprays use silicone oil. which can seep into the cracks in the wood and cause problems if you ever decide to refinish the wood. rubbing alcohol. Just do a web search on “homemade cleaning supplies” and you'll find dozens of sites offering recipes for cleaners that you can make for a fraction of the cost of the name-brand versions.79! So you’re reducing your cost by over 75% by purchasing at the cheapskate store. This same type of product. oven cleaner.. the need to clean. the kind that uses citric acid as the main cleaning ingredient – and it only cost $1.. bathroom cleaner. You’ll find that many of the home-made products will actually be better for your home and for the environment. vinegar. one web site lists a recipe for furniture polish that is made entirely out of olive oil and lemon juice. dishwasher soap. this stuff won't go bad.CLEANING SUPPLIES • One thing will never change. can be made out of a combination of water. etc.. For example. buy the big container and use a coupon. ammonia. – saving you 70% to 80% off the cost of buying the brand-name stuff. Does it somehow make you feel cheap? It shouldn’t. many of these items will actually be environmenally-friendly. etc. I found a huge bottle of orange spray cleaner – you know. you guessed it – a dollar! And the remarkable thing is. or log onto one of the many websites that show you how to make clone – copies of brand – name cleaning products yourself. You’ll find a treasure-trove of cleaning supplies at the dollar store for the remarkable price of. It should make you feel smarter. and by buying big you won't be running out as often. Imagine that – a cheap and effective product that does a better job than the high-priced sprays! 125 . So when you're buying household items like laundry detergent. Their homemade version works just as well as the commercial stuff because the lemon juice dissolves the dirt and smudges on the surface while the olive oil shines and protects the wood. baking soda..

One of the best and largest grocery-related programs around is "Boxtops for Education" sponsored by General Mills. The program costs you nothing extra. Our furry friends need help. too – and their caretakers never get enough money or support to provide the animals with everything that’s needed. you'll find these coupons on dozens of different products you buy every week.Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily save $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. Helping to provide a 126 . Help Your Community with Coupons – Even If You Won't Personally Benefit. When you see bargains like this. and they will certainly appreciate your thoughtfulness. Many of these home-made products actually work better than the store brands as well. SUPER BARGAINS • Often you will find that your store is discontinuing an item. Since General Mills is such a large manufacturer and distributor of food products. And if you happen to find pet food or pet supplies on close-out. You could collect enough over one year's time to provide $20 or $30 worth of educational supplies for your local schools. Just keep a plastic bag in your pantry or kitchen drawer and clip these coupons all year long – even if you don't have school-age kids. you simply clip the little coupon that is printed on the packaging and collect them. buy a bunch of everything and drive it out to the animal shelter or ASPCA. Each one is worth about 10 cents towards school supplies or educational equipment. And that brings up another very important point: saving money to help others. and will put it on sale for pennies on the dollar to clear it out quickly. With this program. Every town and city has a center that accepts food and household items for the poor. based on the number of coupons that the school turns in for credit. It helps local schools get free or discounted educational supplies. but the proceeds that your local schools can receive from it are huge. There are many people who could benefit from your shopping activities. consider buying a few extras for the less fortunate.

Food banks collect canned goods and non-perishable items for distribution to hungry families throughout your area. If you see a clear-cut difference in the quality of an item. what's the point? Life is too short. and the higherpriced item is definitely of better quality. you can be a hero by purchasing one or two extra items and donating them to the food bank. and you'll lower the volume and weight of groceries that you have to truck back to your house. Buy concentrated juices and powdered drinks. One immediate idea is to see if you have a Second Harvest or other food bank in your area. It's easy to enjoy BETTER food and pay LESS money if you follow the steps outlined in this book. there are many other community groups that could benefit from the discounts and bargains you are able to achieve through proper shopping techniques.better education for our children is something we can all be proud of. you're not using the system correctly. If you find yourself buying inferior products or lowering your standards in the quality of the food you buy. Spending less money on food does NOT mean you have to buy lower quality items. But if you find yourself buying inferior products just to save a few pennies. 127 . Value is not as important as providing the best quality for your family so price should not be your only motivation when shopping. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 18 BIG IDEA 89: Cut down on drinks that have water added at the factory. chances are the item is well worth the price they are asking for. Of course. QUALITY • It needs to be said that nothing substitutes for good quality. Rather than sacrifice quality. You'll avoid a huge mark-up. you can enjoy the finest items in the store for a fraction of the everyday retail price. and you and your family are too important to settle for second best. When you do see an incredible bargain on a particular item. I would recommend buying a smaller portion of the better quality items and consuming less. It will be more enjoyable in the long run. If you follow the methods outlined in this book.

Many of these homemade products can actually work better than the name brands! BIG IDEA 92: Quality of life is important. 128 . BIG IDEA 91: Make your own cleaning solutions and you can easily shave $20 or $30 per month off your grocery bill. consider buying the large economy-size package of a product and doling out the portions yourself.BIG IDEA 90: If you want to provide portion-controlled servings. Saving money does NOT have to equate to settling for less. You'll help out your community and store up some good karma while you're at it. You can use plastic bags. Use the tips in this book to buy top-quality products for less. Or simply buy extra nonperishable items when you see them on super-sale and donate them to your local foodbank. get a food-saver machine and make air-tight pouches for longterm use. or if you are especially resourceful. and therefore the quality of the products you purchase and use is also important. BIG IDEA 93: Be an "angel" and participate in free programs such as "Boxtops for Education" that help others.

always skew your answers in the direction the marketers are looking for. Plus. run a web search for "Peanut Butter Coupon". You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print immediately. only you're not working: you're having fun. You should be aware that many of these ‘free coupon’ sites are really consumer survey / information-gathering portals for the food manufacturing industry. Repeat this for all of the other main products you will be shopping for. there are so many loopholes and 'trusted partners' who get your information. you can get some great coupons online. and provide the minimum amount of answers required to get to the coupons on their site. do not participate in their surveys. and if you are concerned about privacy and "Big Brother" knowing too much about you and your family. Value – with a Cost. and your answers will become part of a compiled database file on the members of your household. one offer I came across was for chocolate powder that kids use to flavor their milk. and will not be shared with third party firms. Here is a trick: if you are required to answer questions about your usage of a product prior to your printing the coupon. The website asked for two answers prior to receiving 129 .$30 or more in savings. One site promises that your data remains safe. A half-hour spent searching for coupons can easily reap $20 . The site will ask you a wide range of personal questions about your household. It's like having a part-time job that pays you $40 or $50 an hour. Be wary. it is clear that you are being profiled every step of the way. For instance. But if you read their Privacy Policy. if you find a coupon for a product your family uses a lot. Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. If you need a coupon for peanut butter.Chapter 19: Online Coupon Hunting If you have access to the Internet. you can print off as many as you like.

It’s actually a ploy they use to REMOVE the coupons for items that are already on local promotion in your area. so I logged out and logged back in again. Guess what? No potato coupon was found! Just out of curiosity (and frantic to get my potato coupon) I logged in using a different browser (Internet Explorer instead of Firefox) so there would be no ‘cookies’ stored for my account.the coupon: 1. and I was quickly routed to a 'technical malfunction' page that said the coupon could not be printed at this time. I thought it was an error. but it sure appeared to me that the food . ignore this if you find it confusing. I tend to be cynical. This way. How many times per week does your household use milk flavorings? 2. and the potato coupon disappeared from the list. So when you encounter these 'surveys'. ALWAYS say that you are interested in the featured product and would like to try it. but you currently use a competing brand.” I discovered something surprising about this. I entered my Zip Code to get the local offers. you are almost certain to get the maximum value coupon available on the site that day.) I logged in using a Zip Code from another state. Because the same offer was made at the two largest grocery chains. Just to see what would happen. How do I know this? Recently. How many of these instances involved the brand name featured in the coupon? I answered the maximum in each case. two of my local stores had a namebrand line of potato mixes on BOGO. and guess what – the potato coupon reappeared! 130 Now. Why do you suppose that would happen? Answer: they didn't want to cannibalize their profits from a current customer. I went to my favorite online coupon site and saw a 40¢ coupon for this item on page 1 of the site. Here’s another trick: Some of these online sites will ask you to enter your Zip Code to find “local savings. it was apparent that this was a major push to get people to try these products at the start of the fall/winter “hot food” season. These are the box mixes of augratin or scalloped potatoes. (techie note only.

65 ($1. or you will forever be inundated with emails and marketing offers. On a recent visit. Here are some coupon sites to visit. and some tips on getting the best coupon values on each site. But then the payoff was huge: 82 coupons were available to pick and choose. magazines. But I know from experience that most stores ignore this request because they want to please the customer. They even put the coupons in the same position on each page. This site features about 20 to 30 coupons per week on all types of consumer products.29 minus $0. they’ll typically double every coupon that is within their accepted value range (any coupon under 50¢ at my local store. Just be aware that they are partnered with dozens of information-compiling ($1. and unless you uncheck the requests on their pages. etc. I was asked to review and “accept” or “skip” about 8 lengthy offers for insurance. the internet coupon was marked “Do Not Double”.) Moral of the story: you may want to avoid asking for “local savings” coupons if you really want to save more money locally. Eversave. medicine.29 per box $0. so you can cut a stack of pages all at once and the coupons will all be trimmed out correctly! 131 . CoolSavings. This site will make you work hard to get to the coupons – but it’s worth the effort. Here’s why: Normal price of item Cost per item using only the BOGO offer Cost per item using BOGO offer AND the doubled coupon $1. Read the fine print carefully and uncheck all offers before proceeding. you will instantly be signed up for a wide array of offers.manufacturer didn’t want me using both the doubled coupon AND the BOGO offer. The easiest way to do this is to “select all” and print.29 total for 2 boxes) $ for 2 boxes) Of course.

com. Coupons. you don’t pay an annual fee. Plus. CentsOff. plus a 50¢ administration fee. Fees typically range from 5¢ to 15¢. This site is well organized. They offer a large number of coupons at very good price then pay an additional $8. fee to join. This site offers pre-clipped coupons.A. it displays the specific coupons available by category. Times. You have to go through quite a bit of mumbo-jumbo before you ever get to the coupons. but you do pay for each coupon. On this site. I would recommend this site if you are buying for a community group such as your Boy Scout 132 . One annoying thing about this site is that on coupons that cost you 5¢. you can stock up on the specific coupon. personal and cleaning products and more.. But overall. etc. the shopping cart changes the quantity to 5 – even if you only selected 1. Thecouponclippers. you have to agree to complete a very lengthy survey and tell them everything about yourself – in great detail. A good site to visit often! NOTE: this site is rebranded by local newspapers such as the L. gourmet food items. so you should be a very avid coupon user to cover the startup fee. This site requires that you pay a $7. up until the expiration date of the coupon. the Baltimore Sun. you can plan your savings over time. this site has a huge selection of coupons at very reasonable prices. so if your family is a big consumer of a particular item. as well as the number of coupons currently available and the expiration The drawback is that you have to pay to save. and that just kind of goes against the grain of true cheapskates. You select the coupons online and receive them in the mail within 7 to 10 business days. and you get to choose by specific brand names. There is a $99.OnlineCoupons.95 annual fee however. on items that your family is very likely to want and use – items like popular cereal brands. You can order multiples of the same coupon.25 to receive up to 50 coupons by return mail. you don’t have to do all that clipping… Clipngocoupons. This site requires you to register with minimal information. so you will be directed here from many other sites. plus you must install their printer drivers to print coupons.

As posted on their site. with comments from people who have claimed them or have comments about the offer. however. they provide valuable information about what offers are good and not so You are not the only consumer that wants to save money on groceries. This is a great site for sharing coupon tips and techniques with people from across the country. etc. when you plan to make multiple purchases of specific items over the long term. Plus. value and guidance. But visit it. and see what you think. shopping. but also some unique freestanding sites great for rebate-searching. Thefrugalshopper. Members of this site post information about hot deals and web sites where you can download coupons. so it may be disappointing if you are looking for printable grocery coupons. rebates and regional offers posted here. entertainment. because you will regularly find responses from the PR departments of the big companies. I was impressed at the high coupon values and diversity of local establishments participating on this site. MyClipper. This site uses a double opt-in validation process." GroceryDiscounts. 133 . It's like having 230.000 friends to ask advice from. many leading to the sites listed for grocery There are no grocery coupons on this site. It means that you sign up on line and then you receive an email that you must respond to if you want to get to the online coupons. This is the author’s web site. "FatWallet's mission is to serve consumers with knowledge. We offer many links to the best savings of the or church social group. you can get valuable tips from hundreds of other value-conscious shoppers across the U. too! Fatwallet. This site maintains a large number of links to coupon values.S. The site simply links to EverSave. You are required to provide specific household information to sign up. so I really can’t toot my own horn. The food industry giants monitor this site. especially when a consumer posts a complaint here. The site features a surprising number of local coupons that you can print out and redeem for discounts on dining. You'll find 'hot deals' on coupons. and all the rebates and coupons to make it happen at the lowest possible price. Plus.

and make a new friend. Join some of the ‘blogs’ (web logs) related to cost-cutting. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 19 BIG IDEA 94: Use the internet to your advantage BEFORE you go food shopping. you’ll learn some great money-saving tips that you can use over and over again. Plus. and share your successes with other value-minded individuals.Millions of people today have to count pennies to stay afloat. you might just meet a kindred spirit on one of the blog sites. Knowledge = cash savings for you. You'll find dozens – if not HUNDREDS – of coupons that you can print and redeem immediately. You can benefit from their experiences and wisdom by searching the internet and reading about their tips & techniques. Chances are. 134 . BIG IDEA 95: Use the internet to capture tips & techniques from other shoppers.

People's behavior in the grocery store is a mirror reflection of their attitude towards others. you might only be spending a little more time than you do already. take a glance around every so often to see if anyone is waiting nearby. but you're going to get to know your local store pretty well. and either doesn't know – or doesn't care – that other people are shopping in the store at the same time. they're 135 . Here are a few ways you can become a more courteous shopper and make everyone's shopping experience more pleasant. You can't teach a stranger what their mama was unable to many years ago. Okay. pull your cart over to the side of the aisle so others may pass. two or more people will need the exact same item on the exact same shelf at the exact same time. if you're waiting in line at the butcher or deli counter. Nothing is more frustrating that waiting behind someone who is stopped in the middle of the aisle. be aware of where you left your cart. When you're not moving. As it often goes with Murphy's Law. It was Honore De Balzac who said.Chapter 20: Grocery Store Etiquette One thing to bear in mind as you implement these saving techniques we've discussed. Take a minute to think of other shoppers. Unfortunately you'll find this to be the case among the people sharing the aisles of your grocery store. one way or another. If it's in the middle of the aisle and you'll probably be waiting in line for 5 minutes or longer. Cart Courtesy. is that you're definitely going to be spending more time at your local grocery store. But you can demonstrate proper courtesy yourself and hope that some of it wears off on others. you'll probably be blocking a few dozen shoppers during that time. So if you see someone lurking nearby. Similarly. "Courtesy is only a thin veneer on the general selfishness". and pull your cart off to the side before you get in the line. If you're taking a particularly long time to review the products on the shelf. This certainly brings us to the issue of your fellow shoppers. Shelf Surfing.

take it up with a customer service representative after you finish paying for your groceries. If there is a huge line at your grocery store and the scanner simply won’t ring up the correct price or accept your coupon. don’t jump down their throat: mention that there is an issue with the price that the scanner has entered. If you have a discrepancy on a price. as well. Instead of. And. try.. They’re not there to represent the ‘big bad grocery store chain’ or ‘big corporate food manufacturers’. “oh oh – I think the scanner took the original price and not the sale price. So your 5-minute excursion to the service counter could save you a few extra dollars.. Plus. as will your cashier. okay? Wrong Price / Wrong Coupon. the cashier is NOT trying to rip you off. Your fellow shoppers will be very appreciative. Can we check the sale flyer to see if I’ve got the right item?” In other words. she’s there to help you. if you’re wrong. So give her a break. apologize. But if you try to resolve the situation in the checkout line and hold the other shoppers up for 5 minutes or so. 136 . So give them a break. It makes for a more pleasant exchange. the cashiers will have you pegged as a ‘problem customer’ which is not a good way to make friends or get preferential treatment when you shop. put the blame on the computer and not on the poor cashier who is just doing his or her job. don’t pitch a fit or blame the cashier: offer to fix it at the Customer Service counter after you check out. they’ll never let you live it down. trying to make it through their shift. It’s important to mention that the cashier at your local grocery store is working to feed his or her family. Here’s another value-shopping tip for you: most stores have a ‘no error’ policy that will give you one of the sale item FREE if their system rings up the wrong price. and she wants your shopping visit to be pleasant. They’re just people. and simply walk away from the service counter.probably waiting for you to move. like you and me. Cashier Courtesy. If you’re certain that you are entitled to the lower price or the coupon redemption. it reflects poorly on her if she’s got a situation with an irate customer. Plus. So make your choice and move on. needless to say (but I’m going to say it anyway). Plus. you can accept your error. “hey – you’re trying to rip me off!”.

Big Idea Recap – Chapter 20 BIG IDEA 96: If you notice a price discrepancy at the cash register. You may get one item free if the pricing error was caused by the store’s computer. it can pay to NOT mention it to cashier. walk over to the customer service counter after you’ve paid. 137 . Instead.

138 .

In other words. Let’s say. The cashier asked me to always hand them the coupon at the same time they are scanning the free item.Chapter 21: Miscellaneous Time-Saving / Money-Saving Tips Here are some ways to save time at the grocery store. but purchase the rest of your weekly food needs at their regular store prices. The bad news is. so they don't have to search for the price.99 – all the while taking advantage of store “W’s” other low prices. This makes it easier for the cashier to find the prices. But the fun – and the savings – don’t have to end there. many 139 .99. If you take store “A’s” flyer to store “W”.” This particular store will match their competitor’s advertised sale price on the exact same item. This one tip alone can shave $20 or $30 off your weekly food bill. They'll really appreciate your effort! Competitive Price-Matching. Store “A” has the goal of getting you to come in for that one bargain. One of America’s largest discounters offers a unique value proposition. A cashier recently told me something about the processing of 'free' and 'BOGO' coupons. you can purchase this same item for $3. A good tip is to put those items LAST on the conveyor belt. and put the free and BOGO coupons FIRST on your stack of coupons. This may be one of the only loss-leaders they advertise for the week. There are many coupons that offer an item for free but they also indicate that the cashier must write the purchase price on the coupon. This information can be used to your advantage in many ways. You can also take flyers from store “B” and from store “C” and “D” into store “W”.99 but this week it’s on sale for $3. at the same time you are saving money using the tips and techniques found in this book. regular price $7. you can get the price-saving advantage of shopping at ALL of the stores in your are. Free & BOGO Coupon Presentment Order. but you won’t have to burn up your valuable time and gasoline to visit these stores. that store “A” has put the large size of laundry detergent on sale. for example. Let’s call them store “W” and affectionately nickname them “Wally World.

Most of the time.m. and then I do a quick perusal of my grocery coupon envelopes to see if I have matching coupons. I may find only three or four coupons. and it's one that 90% of all shoppers fall into. I locate the sale items. You're probably a wiz at the 'self-scan' aisle and know how to shave minutes off your trip. It only takes an extra two or three minutes to pick them up.e. You're in a huge rush at 4 p. they don't know any other way. "Acme Grocery". i. when I would have otherwise experienced savings of probably 0% had I not taken the extra few minutes to scarf up these values. you probably want to breeze in and breeze out of the grocery store. I’m not suggesting that you ONLY buy the price-match items at store “W. 140 . I pull out the coupons and place them in the envelope I've got named specifically for that store. Now. but they are the best bargains for that day in that store. And honestly. Make Saving a Habit. Paying full retail for food is a bad habit.” That wouldn’t be fair to them. I run by and pick up those three or four sale items that I have coupons for. All this is great. when you need those three or four items. In time. But you're relaxed and taking your time at 8 a.stores like store “W” do not double your coupon’s value. You’ll just have to do the math yourself to decide which stores in your area offer the best final-cost pricing on the items you need. but when I'm breezing in to Acme for my 10-minute kamikaze shopping blitz. you will save money on food. you will consistently find yourself paying less for food because you have changed the way you shop. Speed Shopping. The secret to accomplishing BOTH of these goals is to do a little pre-planning. when you're reading the Sunday paper. If you habitually follow even a few of these money-saving tips. If you only need three or four items to complete your meal on a Sunday afternoon. The net result: I experience savings of 40% or 50% on my total order that day.m. many times the net cost of items at store “W” are lower with single-value redemption on coupons that they are at competing stores with double-value redemption. but it can be very costly if you don't time to shop for bargains or take advantage of the in-store sales on that particular day. I find it very beneficial to scan the grocery flyer from my local store.

or just not be usable. Even their friend who weighs 300 lbs and regularly cleans out my refrigerator of all leftovers. If it's defective. Try it.00 off coupons for their other products. thyme. nothing is better than fresh basil. If you have a patio or deck. CRAZY??? No. Once in a blue moon. Now you're asking me to put on bib overalls and farm the back 40? What are you. etc. Okay. You can also find meat that is expiring and on-sale 141 . Start a Soup Night. cilantro. Tomatoes grow very well in a large bucket – and you can often find the large 5-gallon plastic pails thrown away behind restaurants or in the recycling bin. taste horrible. because my personal focus group is pretty reliably when it comes to evaluating kid's foods. write a quick letter to the manufacturer and tell them so. to take things out of the recycling bin? No! You are doing better than recycling – you are re-using!). Grow Your Own Vegetables and Herbs. The manufacturer wrote me back and send me three $1. So it was well worth my time to complain. you will purchase an item that will either have gone bad. Every grocery store has vegetables that are reaching their peak and must be sold quickly. you can grow your own tomatoes or green beans and save lots of money on fresh vegetables. and they all spit it out. you can cook them up in a pressure cooker and make a delicious soup in less than an hour.Never Settle for Poor Quality. You might be surprised at how easy it is to grow your own herbs and save on the cost of buying them fresh. Turn this to your advantage. If the item is in fine condition but you just think it's nasty-tasting. I know what you're thinking: I barely have time to zip through the grocery store. he spit it out. If you like gourmet cooking. return it to the store for a new one. So if you pick up a bag of mixed vegetables for $1 or $2. So I wrote a note to the manufacturer and told them that they needed to reformulate or at least re-think the product. or even just a few square feet on the side of your driveway. it's nothing like that. parsley. the grocers expect a certain amount of 'breakage' as it's known in the trade. – and these grow very well in small pots that you can put on a window sill. and use them to make a pot of soup! Monday's are good days for grocery stores to clear out their leftover inventory from the weekend. I recently bought a juice item for my kids. actually. (Is that unethical.

Take advantage and cook it all up together with a few spices. By taking the other store’s sales flyers into the big-box store. you can enjoy the best values from every store in your area. BIG IDEA 98: If you get in the habit of ALWAYS picking up a bargain or two EVERY TIME you visit the grocery store. using your breadmaker. get your money back or get a replacement. write letters: you'll get satisfaction in the end – and probably save a few extra bucks as well. and you have a gourmet treat that's easy on the budget as well. If they're just poorly made or you are completely dissatisfied with them. that is still absolutely fresh and good to eat that day but must be sold by the store before midnight to comply with basic regulations. Bake a loaf of fresh bread the night before. you will see a consistent and ongoing reduction in your net cost of food.for fi the price or less. BIG IDEA 100: A few minutes per day invested in growing your own vegetables and herbs can easily save you $20 or $30 per month. welcome meal that your family will love and look forward to every week. If you make bargain-grabbing a habit. By learning how to prepare these items quickly. It makes a terrific dinner. Big Idea Recap – Chapter 21 BIG IDEA 97: Some big-box grocers offer to match competitive store’s sales prices. That's up to $360 savings per year – plus you'll eat better and tastier meals. If they're defective. you can not only save money – you can prepare them into a delicious. BIG IDEA 99: You never have to pay for items that truly are unusable. BIG IDEA 101: Bargain meats and vegetables are still very edible and nutritious. 142 . you will habitually save on food. without the added cost or time of actually driving to all of these stores. the store couldn't sell them if they weren't.

You can shop quickly and efficiently. Good shopping to you all. You don't have to settle for second best. and you don't have to pay top dollar to get the finest groceries available in the store. there you have it. May your coupon-cutting scissors remain sharp. delicious meals that can improve their health and you can save lots of money in the process.Closing Notes Well. You can feed your family for less and enjoy nutritious. I hope that the ideas presented here have given you a new outlook on food and cooking in general. and your piggybanks remain full! 143 . regardless of how time-challenged you are.

These are the actual term to the coupons you get in your Sunday newspaper. usually has a red border C/O .for coupons that need some proof of purchase such as UPC's attached Cpns .Premiums that require money in addition to a proof of purchase NAZ .Do Not Double (the coupon is not supposed to be doubled) Double coupon .Limited.The health and beauty aid section in the grocery store HDA .Cash register tape DCRT. as on a refund form it will say you're limited to a certain number of purchases MFG .A coupon that allows you to get the product completely free FSI . usually from red blinking box BOGO or B1G1 .Dated cash register tape with the price circled DND .Buy one get one free Catalina .cents off coupon Codes .coupon that a grocery store doubles in value Free Item Coupon .Free Standing inserts.Hope this helps ISO . zip code NB .GLOSSARY Guide to refunding and couponing terms : Blinkies .Hang tags for refunds or coupons hanging on a product HTH .manufacturer's coupons CRT .Manufacturer MFR .coupon dispensed at register after purchase. Also referred to as SS coupons or insert coupons.instore smartsource coupon dispensed near product. HBA .National Brand NBQ .Dated cash register tape DCRTC .Manufacturer Money + .Name. address.Hot Deal Alert or Home Delivered Ad HT or HgT.Refunds that require only a UPC# written on a CRT Coufund .In search of LTD .National Brand Qualifier 144 .

Your Mileage May Vary (Success of offer is variable.a coupon that a grocery store triples in value UPC . any size OSI .Random act of kindness SF .purchase price PPHF .refund form found in a newspaper NT WT .Universal Product Code WSL . a $1 coupon = $2.Store form SMP .net weight OAS .No expiration date Nfp .while supplies last YMMV .proof of purchase PP .Sunday supplement coupons (FSI) Super doubles .On a single item POP .NED .sweepstakes form Tear pad .) 145 .Try Me Free Triple coupon .Paypal handling fee Q or that are doubled $1 + in value (ie.specially marked packages SS .a coupon that is good on one purchase. etc) SWEEPS .A pad of refund forms found hanging from a store shelf or display TMF .The POP required for a refund offer that is physically taken from that package RAOK .

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000 per year. and Allied Graphic Arts. His clients have included many of the nation’s largest manufacturers. That’s at least $1. retailers and financial institutions.000 to $5. Understanding how to leverage the grocery manufacturer’s promotional cycles AISLE MASTERY. You can shop smarter even if you’re always in a hurry LEVERAGE. 101 simple action steps that you can learn in minutes If your family spends $100 or more on food per week.even 50% or more on groceries TAKING SIMPLE STEPS.THIS DEFINITIVE GUIDE to saving money on groceries is a godsend to families who struggle to make ends meet. Buying the best for less than the ‘off brands’ SMARTER COOKING. You will learn how to completely re-shape your approach to food. You will learn the inside secrets that the food industry doesn’t want you to know – and how you can harness that knowledge to beat them at their own game. Your family will love the results – and so will your budget! RANDALL PUTALA is a career advertising executive that has worked for some of America’s largest agencies including BBDO. Selecting core ingredients rather than paying for high-priced ‘pre-mixed’ items THINKING LIKE A MARKETER. How to think like a chef to get the best shopping values on any given day SYSTEMATIC SAVINGS. If you’ve tried ‘skimping’ on quality or selection just to lower your costs. within days of reading this book you can start saving a minimum of $30 per week – all while eating tastier and more nutritious meals. . This is real money that you can bankroll to make life-changing differences in your family’s lives. and develop lifelong money-saving habits such as: MAKING BETTER CHOICES.500 in savings per year! And if you’re spending $200 or $300 per week – you can easily save $3.40% . How to use coupon doubling and store promotions to maximize savings STAYING IN SEASON. a non-profit foundation dedicated to solving the world hunger crisis. Putala is also the founding director of World Hunger Team. this book will show you how easy it is to actually IMPROVE your menu and INCREASE meal satisfaction – all while PAYING LESS CASH each week for groceries. Inside the pages of “Better Groceries for Less Cash” you will quickly learn and master the simple techniques of value buying. FKB Group PLC. Discover the system that can save you 30% .

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